Despite central forces presence, law & order totally failed in Manipur: Central Minister

A charred vehicle at Union Minister of State for External Affairs R K Ranjan Singh’s residence in Imphal on June 16. Security guards and fire fighters managed to control arson attempts by the mob and save the minister’s house from being burnt down on Thursday night. (IANS Photo)

A charred vehicle at Union Minister of State for External Affairs R K Ranjan Singh’s residence in Imphal on June 16. Security guards and fire fighters managed to control arson attempts by the mob and save the minister’s house from being burnt down on Thursday night. (IANS Photo)

Mob sets Union Minister of State for External Affairs  Rajkumar Ranjan Singh's house on fire in Imphal

Imphal, June 16 (IANS): Union Minister of State for External Affairs, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, whose house in Imphal was vandalised and set on fire by a mob, said that despite the presence of central forces, the law and order situation in Manipur has totally collapsed.

Singh, who is currently in Kerala as part of BJP's Jansampark programme, said: "I have failed to understand why people attacked my house for the second time. I am doing my best and negotiating with the central government to normalise the situation in Manipur.

"I am shocked over this incident. The law and order situation in Manipur has totally failed. The existing state government could not maintain the law and order situation despite the Centre providing a large number of forces. I do not know why the state mechanism has failed.

"If me or my family members were at home at the time of the attack, it would have posed serious threat to our lives. Union Home Minister Amit Shah called me after the incident."

While talking to mediapersons at Angamaly near Kochi, Singh said the mob on Thursday night hurled petrol bombs at his residence and even the fire fighters could not enter the house in time due to the obstacles put up by the attackers.
The minister has also cut short his visit to Kerala and is returning to Manipur. The Police have arrested 17 persons in connection with the attack on the minister's residence.

Appealing for cessation of violence in the larger interest of the nation, the minister called upon the violent groups to shun hostilities immediately and find an amicable solution.

Singh said the violence erupted due to some misunderstanding between communities and there were no religious or communal overtone to it.

Singh also said that Art of Living pioneer Sri Sri Ravi Shankar will visit Manipur soon as part of the efforts to restore communal harmony and peace in the state.

Noting that the places of worship of different communities have been attacked, the minister said that more than 70,000 people have been displaced after the violence erupted on May 3.

Singh also said that the Union government has constituted a peace committee, besides providing a special package for the affected families.

Pertinently, the minister had earlier said that the demand for a separate state for the tribals was made under tremendous pressure from various quarters.

Singh and Naga People's Front (NPF) MP Lorho S. Pfoze had earlier urged the people to maintain peace and ethnic harmony and keep their faith and trust in the government to control the situation.

Defying curfew on Thursday night, a mob of about 200 men and women attacked the Union minister's residence. Though a portion of the house was burnt, security guards and firefighters managed to control the blaze from spreading further.

Singh's house was earlier targeted on May 25 when thousands of people attempted to assemble in front of his residence, but security forces prevented them from doing so.

PM urged to convene all-party 
meeting over Manipur situation

 The Congress on Friday slammed the Centre over the deteriorating law and order in violence-hit Manipur after a mob set Union Minister R.K. Ranjan Singh's house on fire in Imphal and demanded that the Prime Minister must call for an all-party meeting over the situation in the northeastern state.

Congress General Secretary, Organisation, K.C. Venugopal, in a tweet, said: "Manipur is burning for the last 40 days and the conflict is spiralling out of control. There is no semblance of rule of law and those in power are themselves spearheading massacres and helping militants with arms and ammunition".

Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his silence on Manipur issue, he said: "The Prime Minister has maintained a stone-cold silence, and his government has taken no concrete action so far. Why is the Union government allowing this to continue? Who is accountable for this disastrous situation? The Prime Minister must immediately call for an all-party meeting because the country is demanding answers. Will he finally speak up after a Union Minister's residence has been attacked?"

Senior Congress leader and former Union Minister P. Chidambaram slammed the government over the violence in Manipur.

"The double-engine government failed in Karnataka and it was shown the door by the people of Karnataka. The double-engine government is failing the people of Manipur. One engine (the state) has run out of fuel. The other engine (the centre) has decoupled itself and is hiding in the loco shed. It is obvious that Mr Biren Singh has lost the confidence of all sections of the people of Manipur. It is also obvious that Mr Narendra Modi is not willing to talk to the people of Manipur nor even make an appeal for peace. Since May 3 -- that is in the last 45 days -- the Prime Minister has not uttered a word on Manipur; nor visited the state that is burning. This is the Government that boasts of 'Sabka Saath......'" Chidambaram said in a tweet.

Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh tweeted: "The Prime Minister should listen to himself regarding Manipur", attaching a video of Modi where he is heard saying that "there was a time when the governments left Manipur on its condition".

The remarks from the Congress leaders came after the house of Union Minister Ranjan Singh was torched in Manipur on late Thursday night.