Mob heckles Manipur agriculture minister

IMPHAL | Publish Date: 10/7/2020 1:24:45 PM IST

 Manipur agriculture minister O Lukhoi Singh had to be rescued by police after he was overpowered and abused by an angry mob during a pre-poll violence in Imphal West district late Tuesday night.

Police had to resort to firing several rounds of tear gas shells and mock bombs to disperse the mob and eventually rescued the minister unharmed after around half an hour of struggle.

The minister was evacuated from the spot while the police were still struggling to control the crowds that clashed.

None sustained serious injuries in the police action and there were only minor injuries which needed no medical attention, reports said.

The report said that the violence clash broke out between workers of the ruling BJP and residents of Samurou area within the poll-bound Wangoi Assembly when the minister visited the locality around 8 pm on Wednesday.

The clash broke out after the minister and BJP workers allegedly defied a ban on election related activities in the locality as a preventive measure to check spread of COVID-19.

Tension had already prevailed in the locality prior to the minister’s visit after an active worker of the minister defied the ban and attempted to organise an election rally by hoisting a BJP flag in his own residence earlier in the day.

Local residents who foiled the rally also removed the flag. The minister and his workers visited the locality after getting the information and attempted to re-organise the rally, another local source alleged.

Recently, local youth clubs and women bodies of Samurou area unanimously resolved to ban all election related gatherings, including rally and campaign within the locality, as preventive measure to check spread of COVID-19 in the locality.

The locality had even banned an election campaign of another ex-MLA from the locality who left the ruling BJP and campaigned to contest the upcoming by-poll on a Congress ticket.

Wangoi was among the five Assembly constituencies where the ECI had announced to hold by-elections on November 7.

The seat of the Assembly constituency is lying vacant after the Lukhoi resigned as Congress MLA and joined the BJP.

He was recently inducted in the council of ministers of the N Biren Singh-led BJP’s coalition government and allocated minister in-charge of agriculture among other portfolios. Five of 13 seats currently lying vacant in the 60-seat Manipur Assembly will go on by-poll on November 7. Earlier on September 29, the ECI announced by-poll schedules for only two Assembly segments in Thoubal district.

However, on October 5, the ECI announced holding by-polls to three more Assembly segments slated for November 7.

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