Security Beefed Up Ahead Of Home Minister’s Visit

IMPHAL, May 9: Beefing up security measures ahead of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s visit to the State, security forces have conducted search operations in different suspected areas today.

The security team led by Imphal West DSP Ibomcha conducted search operations in different areas where the Union Home Minister’s would pass through.

Search operations were conducted since early morning at surrounding areas of the Tulihal airport, Changangei Ucheckon and Kwakeithel areas.

Similar search operations were also carried out in the western side of Governor Road at about 11.10 am.

DSP Ibomcha said that the search operations were conducted as pre-emptive measures to avert any act of sabotage or subversive activities during the Home Minister’s visit to the State.

After frisking and checking all the people staying around Governor Road including commuters, those who have identity cards were let off after verification.

However, 38 people who did not possess identity card or any document which could serve as identity proof were taken to police stations for verification, Ibomcha said.

The Union Home Minister’s arrival on Tuesday has been over-shadowed by escalating violence perpetuated by state and non-state actors and “unfinished” political haggling by the insurgents. Strategic places in Imphal city and Ukhrul district headquarters, including Imphal-Ukhrul inter-district road, have been sanitized by the State police in anticipation of the visit.

Official sources said purpose of the visit by the Union minister is to review the law and order situation of the State besides inaugurating the newly constructed mini secretariat in Ukhrul district headquarters.

The two-day visit of Chidambaram has generated interest among political pundits given the timing of intense and subterranean political churning in the State which has been juxtaposed as a background to understand the political climate between Delhi and Imphal.

For one, the visit comes close on the heels of surreptitious raids recently by National Investigation Agency (NIA) in several places in Imphal, including a local publishing house, on the alleged charge of having nexus with the proscribed United National Liberation Front (UNLF) whose Chairman RK Meghan was recently arrested from Motihari in Bihar under contending claims. The people of the State had erupted in protest last year demanding that the Centre reveal whereabouts of the UNLF chief.

Meanwhile, a slew of public meetings in the valley districts endorsed that plebiscite is the only way to resolve the political crisis in the State.

The agenda to hold plebiscite to determine the fate of Manipur has long been a standing demand of UNLF and Chief Minister Ibobi Singh had at the floor of the House attested that plebiscite could be a good start to resolve Manipur issue.

The Union minister’s short trip to the Naga dominated district of Ukhrul is expected to provide an “inviting” opportunity to Naga civil societies to push through the UNC-backed Alternative Arrangement agenda of the Nagas.

The demand seeks an alternative political arrangement for the Nagas outside of Manipur State.

Incidentally, Ukhrul is also the home district of Th Muivah, general secretary of National Socialist Council of Nagalim–Issac- Muivah (NSCN-IM).

Significantly, Nagas congregated in massive number in Senapati district about three days back to commemorate the death of two Naga students in 2010 at Mao Gate when the State police fired at the protestors who were defying the State government’s decision to prohibit Muivah from visiting his ancestral village in Ukhrul.

NSCN-IM is involved in peace talks with the government of India for more than a decade now. Ceasing fire is one of the prerequisite or ground rule of the peace talks which obliges both NSCN-IM and Central security forces to hold their fire even as the peace process is built on.

However, a very recent incident of assassination attempt allegedly by NSCN-IM cadres at convoy of a sitting State MLA Wungnaoshang Keishing, some 30 km away from Imphal in Ukhrul district has rendered lots of questions on Indo-Naga peace process unanswered. The ambush had claimed the lives of six security escort personnel and two civilians.

Ironically, the visit by Chidambaram to the State to review the law and order situation has come at a time when violence has seen an unexpected jump especially in the four valley districts of Manipur – Thoubal, Bishnupur, Imphal West and Imphal East.

There have been wide reports in the media in recent times about the incidence of hurling grenades at the residents of VIPs in the State. The cases of custodial deaths have also seen marked increased during the past few months.

Given the collective grievances of the people of the State, the visiting Union Home minister is likely to be burdened with wades of memorandums from the civil societies.

Meanwhile, Union minister P Chidambaram will arrive in Imphal at around 6 pm by a BSF Embracer Aircraft. He will be accompanied by Union Home Joint Secretary Sambhu Singh and Special Director of Intelligence Bureau RN Rabi.

According to sources, the Union Home minister will hold a meeting with state Governor Gurbachan Jagat and chief minister O Ibobi Singh separately.

On Wednesday, Chidambaram will head for Ukhrul to inaugurate a mini secretariat at 10 am and then address a public meeting there. Sources said he will be there for about an hour only.

The sources also said that a helicopter MI-17 has been arranged by the BSF for the Union home minister’s visit to Ukhrul but if the weather is not conducive, Chidambaram will take a surface transport mode.

The sources then said that Home Minister Chidambaram will hold series of meetings with the leaders of civil organizations and prominent public leaders at Raj Bhavan after his return from Ukhrul.

The Union Home minister is slated to depart Imphal at around 5 pm on Wednesday by the same aircraft that brought him to Imphal.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express/Newmai News Network)

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