GUWAHATI: Even as the Coordinating Committee (Corcom)--the apex body of six insurgent outfits in Manipur imposed a curfew from 6 AM on Saturday in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Imphal, two bombs were found outside the residences of two BJP candidates in Imphal West district on Friday.
One of the bombs was found at a distance of nine km from CRPF Grounds --Modi’s proposed rally venue, where he is scheduled to address the public on Saturday. Another was found in Thoubal, about 40 km away.
The CorCom appealed people to boycott PM’s visit to give out a message that “alien rule” is not welcome in the region.
“Under Indian colonial rule, the people of Manipur have been suffering untold miseries for the past 67 years. And that’s the reason why people are waging a war for liberation,” the CorCom said in a statement.
The Manipur government appeared not bothered. “It (bandh) is quite normal. Every time a VVIP comes to Manipur, the insurgents call a bandh. So, this is not new. The programme of the Prime Minister will continue without any problem,” chief secretary O Nabakishor told Express.
“They call such bandhs and curfews even on January 26 and August 15. But people go out to take part in the celebrations,” he added.
The BJP has shifted the PM’s rally from historic Kangla Fort to CRPF Grounds at Lamsing on the outskirts of Imphal. The party took the decision after activist Irom Sharmila’s People’s Resurgence and Justice Alliance (PRJA) had moved the Election Commission raising objections to the venue. The Meiteis (Manipuris) view the fort as a sacred site and the PRJA insisted that places of worship should not be allowed to be used as a forum for “election propaganda”.
Meanwhile, as PM Modi is unlikely to be able to reach out to a larger audience in view of the curfew, it will benefit the ruling Congress which is eyeing a fourth term on the trot. The party is aggressively campaigning against BJP on issues particularly the economic blockade, enforced by the United Naga Council (UNC), and the Centre’s signing of the “Framework Agreement” with Isak-Muivah faction of Naga insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM).
The grand old party has been blaming BJP for having colluded with UNC and NSCN-IM in enforcing the blockade to try and impose President’s rule.
They allege that the BJP-led Central government had already compromised on Manipur’s territorial integrity by signing the “Framework Agreement”.
One of the most contentious demands of NSCN-IM is the creation of “Greater Nagaland” by slicing off the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, besides Assam and Arunachal.