Protests greet Amit Shah in Parliamentary election campaign at Imphal

Imphal: Imphal people took to the streets against the political rally of Union Home minister Amit Shah for the ensueing Lok Sabha Elections, amidst almost a year-long crisis in Manipur.

Tensions escalated in Imphal as the protestors including locals and vendors initiated blocking vehicles transporting of BJP supporters at several locations in Imphal East specially at Lamlong Bazar and Wangkhei areas, to prevent them reaching Amit Shah’s rally ground at Hapta Kangjeibung.

Protestors on New Checkon Road burned tyres and other objects, obstructing the road causing disruptions to traffic flow.

The protestors expressed strong disapproval of Amit Shah’s visit to Manipur for an election campaign, criticising the central government’s inaction and neglect towards the state during the ongoing crisis.

Manipur has been on boil since May 1 last year after Kuki started attacking Meitei villages.

“Visiting Manipur for election campaign neglecting the state crisis for almost one year is an insult and mockery to the people here,” said a protestor, recalling Amit Shah’s previous three-day visit to the state and his unfulfilled promise to revisit after 15 days.

Amit Shah’s last visit was in May,  last year.

“This protest is not about politics. Engaging in political campaigning, while Manipur is in turmoil with deaths and displacement, is deeply unfortunate,” the protestor said.

She urged the people of Manipur to resist the allure of politicians offering money and to prioritise the pressing issues facing the state.

Volunteers of the Youth of Manipur (YOM) along with women vendors in Manipur also protested at Khwairamband Bazar in Imphal to protest against the visit of Amit Shah.

They hold banners displaying the faces of those who have died and gone missing during the crisis. “We don’t want elections at the cost of our lives.”

“Given the neglect of the people of Manipur by the BJP-led government during this year-long crisis, Mr. Amit Shah is not welcomed,” a leader of the YOM said.

The protest escalated into a confrontation with security personnel, leading to their dispersal.

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