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Rio Set For Senapati Date; Additional Security Forces Dispatched, SPF Cabinet Endorses All Political Party Stand

Despite the decision to oppose the visit of Rio preparations on at Senapati to receive him. Image Credit: Sangai Photo

IMPHAL, May 27: As a pre-emptive measure ahead of the Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio’s proposed visit to Senapati district headquarters, additional security personnel have been dispatched for deployment at sensitive areas of the hill district.

Contrary to the Union Home Ministry reportedly advising Neiphiu Rio to shelve his plan to visit Senapati in connection with the launch of the Nagaland-based Naga People’s Front (formerly Nagaland People’s Front), the Democratic Alliance of Nagaland (DAN) Cabinet has decided that the Nagaland Chief Minister will definitely go to Senapati.

According to an informed source, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram called up Nagaland Home Minister Imkong to intimate Rio to defer his Senapati district sojourn.

Reports published in some Nagaland-based dailies confirmed that Neiphiu Rio will attend the launch of the NPF Manipur unit in Senapati district, which is scheduled for May 28.

It is also informed that the Union Home Ministry’s advice as well as similar intimation to Imkong by the Government of Manipur dominated a meeting of the DAN Cabinet held this evening consequently lea-ding to the decision on Rio’s presence at the Senapati event.

On the other hand, a Cabinet meeting of the SPF Government presided by Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh today reaffirmed decision taken at a previous Cabinet session which was later endorsed by an all political party meeting, and  consequently appealed to the Nagaland Chief Minister to annul his proposed visit to Senapati.

Based on the Cabinet decision, O Ibobi Singh had a telephonic talk with his Nagaland counter-part and urged the latter to review his Senapati itinerary, said the source who conceded that response of Neiphiu Rio could not be confirmed.

Speculating that the reply might not have been positive to what the Government of Manipur was expecting from Rio, the source affirmed the suspicion with the confirmation that additional security forces in adequate strength have begun movement toward Senapati district.

Led by the Additional Director General of Police (Govt of Manipur) V Zathang, State and Central para-military force personnel today headed for deployment at Mao sub-division and Senapati district areas.

The joint security force, which also include DIG Range-I L Kailun, who is presently dispensing additional charge as SP (IW), comprise of five units of Imphal West district police commandos, two units each of Imphal East, Bishnupur and Thoubal district commandos, large number of IRB personnel and five CRPF companies.

It is informed that maximum number of the security forces, including three CRPF companies, would be deployed in and around Mao Gate to specifically bar Rio’s entry into Manipur while the rest would be scattered in Mao and Senapati district headquarters to maintain law and order.

Meanwhile, a statement issued today by the State Home Department said that the Government of Manipur has ‘requested’ Neiphiu Rio to defer his visit to Senapati.

Due to the ongoing activities of various militant groups the State police is already over-stretched and it would be  over-stretched and it would be extremely difficult to provide full-proof security to the Chief Minister of Nagaland, who is placed in Z-plus security category, said the Home Department statement issued by its Special Secretary.

Further noting that many Nagaland Ministers, MP, MLAs and party (NPF) office bearers are likely to accompany Rio, the statement also maintained that in the given sensitive situation, any small incident during the proposed visit of the Nagaland Chief Minister and his Cabinet colleagues might trigger violence and aggravate the law and order situation and thus it is not considered advisable to allow the proposed visit at this stage.

Further pointing out that the ‘next round of talks’ with UNC is scheduled at Senapati district headquarters on May 30 and there is possibility of Neiphiu Rio’s visit creating public discontentment subsequently hindering smooth progress of the talks, the Home Department contended that as senior officers of the Ministry of Home Affairs have already conveyed participation in the talks any disruptive events will be a dampener against the talks.

Moreover, the Government and people of Manipur are painfully aware of the crippling scarcity of rice and petroleum products for about six months during 2010 following blockade of both NH-39 and 53, which could be stabilized after concerted efforts of the State Government in coordination with Government of India, FCI and IOC, the statement recounted.

Informing that Rio’s proposed visit had figured several times in the State Cabinet meeting leading to apprehension that the high profile visit with political agenda at this stage is likely to trigger public agitation and blockade of NH-39, the statement expressed that Government of Manipur will take all possible measures to ensure the people do not endure another bout of hardships.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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