Manipur: Trouble brews ahead of Modi's Imphal rally; bombs recovered, insurgents call for boycott
The Coordinating Committee (Corcom) that constitutes of six insurgent groups, said that the blockade would be in place till Modi leaves Imphal.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Saturday's rally in Imphal may be marred by fresh trouble and protest brewing in the poll-bound state.
Just a day before the rally, the police on Friday recovered a hand grenade and a bomb from two separate places in Manipur, including from outside a BJP candidate's house.
A China-made hand grenade was found near the gate of BJP candidate Soibam Subhachandra's residence at Ningombam Leikai in Imphal West district, 9 km away from the Achouba ground, while another bomb was found in front of another BJP worker O Sunil's residence in Thoubal district, 40 km away from the rally venue.
The recoveries come even as an apex body of six rebel groups in Manipur has given a call for a "complete shutdown" in the state on Saturday to protest Modi's visit, saying it was aimed at "hoodwinking the people of Manipur".
Late on Thursday night, the Coordinating Committee (Corcom) that constitutes six insurgent groups said in a communique that the blockade would start at 6 am on 25 February and would be in place till Modi leaves the state capital Imphal.
The police said that security measures were beefed up to ensure that there was no law and order problem during the one-hour visit of the prime minister.
The Corcom statement also levelled serious charges against the Centre, including accusing it of driving a wedge between communities who have lived in peace and harmony for generations.
Members of the public were asked not to venture out during the "curfew". However, media and other essential services were exempted.
The prime minister is scheduled to address a rally at Langjing Achouba ground in Imphal West district on Saturday in support of BJP candidates in the ensuing Assembly polls.
The established insurgent groups in Manipur have always boycotted visits of the central dignitaries, an official said.
Police said: "During such public curfew people usually stayed indoors and did not stick out their necks."
Attendance has always been thin during such public functions. There were also stray violent incidents to drive home the message that the "boycott call" should not be taken lightly, the official added.
The ruling Congress party has demanded that during his visit, Modi should spell out the details of the framework agreement that New Delhi had signed with the Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) in 2015.
Students and women activists also demanded the disclosure of details of the agreement.
Elections for the 60-seat assembly in the state will be held in two phases, on 4 and 8 March.
With inputs from agencies
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