Congress former chief Rahul Gandhi, who had to take a chopper to Manipur on Thursday to visit relief camps there after his convoy was stopped by the police, hit out at the Manipur government, saying that he had come to listen to the brothers and sisters of the northeastern state but was being stopped from doing so.
“It’s very unfortunate that the government is stopping me. Manipur needs healing. Peace has to be our only priority,” Rahul Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
Gandhi was travelling to Churachandpur district, one of the worst affected areas in the violence, when police stopped his convoy at Bishnupur, about 20km from the capital Imphal, citing security fears.
Tear gas shells were then fired to disperse a crowd that had started gathering in the area.
Gandhi’s convoy returned to Imphal and he reached Churachandpur by helicopter, said Keisham Meghachandra Singh, Manipur state Congress president.
Congress General Secretary KC Venugopal, while speaking to news agency ANI, said: “Rahul Gandhi’s convoy has been stopped by police near Bishnupur. Police say that they are not in a position to allow us. People are standing on both sides of the road to wave to Rahul Gandhi. We are not able to understand why have they stopped us…”
At least 100 people have been killed in ethnic clashes and violence in Manipur since last month, as thousands of homes have been burned and shops and businesses vandalised.