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Rajnath expresses grave concern over Manipur situation, issues veiled warning to state govt

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday night expressed grave concern over the continued blockade of a National Highway in Manipur causing severe difficulties to the people, especially with regard to availability of essential commodities.

The Home Minister told this to Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh here at a meeting. He made it clear to the Manipur Chief Minister that if government of Manipur fails in its Constitutional duties, government of India may have to explore other measures under the provisions of Constitution of India to ensure that difficulties of people of Manipur are alleviated. Rajnath conveyed that continued blockade of NH-2 is likely to adversely affect democratic process in the forthcoming elections by hampering movement of people, including election officials.

Election to 60-member Manipur assembly will be held on March 4 and 8. The Ministry of Home Affairs has been making repeated efforts to find a way to have the NH-2 opened. On November 15, 2016, tripartite talks with government of Manipur and United Naga Council (UNC) were called at New Delhi to discuss the economic blockade, which were not attended by Government of Manipur, a Home Ministry official said.

On December 22, the Home Minister wrote to the Chief Minister to discharge his Constitutional obligations of keeping National Highways open and ensure supplies of essential commodities.

40 additional companies (4,000 personnel) of Central Para- Military Forces have been made available to Manipur as asked for by them in the month of December, in addition to 135 companies (13,500 personnel) of CAPFs already stationed there.

Despite these repeated efforts of the Ministry, nothing substantive seems to have been done to remove the economic blockade, the Home Minister told the Chief Minister.

Rajnath said that it is the Constitutional obligation of government of Manipur to maintain public order in the state including maintenance of essential supplies and conducive atmosphere for holding elections.

He asked the Chief Minister to discharge this obligation responsibly, in the interest of people of Manipur.

Rajnath also said that if more forces are required for this, that would be made available by Government of India but it is critical that the government of Manipur should not be lacking in its will to restore normalcy. The Home Minister also met Chief Minister of Nagaland T R Zeliang today and sought his cooperation in keeping the NH-2 open between Dimapur and Mao Gate and not to allow disturbance on this vital route.