Home torched, Union minister slams Manipur govt – Times of India


GUWAHATI: Junior foreign minister Rajkumar Ranjan Singh‘s residence in Imphal was among several properties vandalised and torched late Thursday in a devastating combustion of arson and rioting that continued well into Friday, leaving the BJP-led government scorched by criticism from within about its “total failure” to get a grip on law and order in Manipur.
“I am shocked,” Ranjan Singh, the BJP MP representing Inner Manipur constituency, was quoted by news agency ANI as saying in Kerala‘s Kochi. “The existing (state) government could not maintain peace, which is why the central government sent a lot of protection… I don’t know how the state mechanism is (still) a failure,” he said.
As the Union minister tore into his party colleague and CM N Biren Singh’s handling of the ethnic violence since May 3, fresh arson by mobs reduced a warehouse owned by a retired civil servant near the capital city’s Palace Ground to cinder. Four people were reported wounded in continued street clashes between mobs and RAF personnel.
The attack on Ranjan Singh’s residence in the Kongba Nandeibam Leikai neighbourhood of Imphal was the second since May 25. Barring a few guards, there was nobody at home this time when a 50-strong mob barged in and ran riot around 11pm. An extension of the main house, at least three cars, security barracks, and belongings were destroyed.
“I don’t know why they are attacking. There is no reason. I am trying to bring peace, negotiating… helping my senior ministers and colleagues to bring normalcy. If my sons and daughters and (other members of the) family happened to be there… (all) that burning and throwing of petrol, it seemed to be an attempt on my life,” he told ANI.
Ranjan Singh, who was in Kochi for an event, said Union home minister Amit Shah called him to enquire about the attack.
Hours before the Union minister’s house was engulfed in flames, arsonists set ablaze three other houses in another Imphal locality, leading to a clash with security personnel in which a member of the force and two civilians were wounded.
The official Imphal residence of the state’s lone woman minister, BJP’s Nemcha Kipgen, was destroyed in an act of arson accompanying Wednesday’s bloodbath in Kangpokpi district involving villagers targeting allegedly armed assailants who had been repeatedly attacking their hamlets. Nine people died and 10 were wounded in the backlash, leading to the current burst of violence pulverising the state capital.
Security sources said intermittent gunshots were again heard at Aigejang village in Kangpokpi past midnight Thursday. Bursts of firing were also reported in the Phouljang area of Churachandpur district.

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