In a major embarassment to Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, NSCN (IM) has denied any involvement in the shooting incident in Ukhrul. Not only that, they also accused the CM of staging the incident in order to get political mileage.
What happened in Ukhrul?
On Monday, Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh escaped unhurt when suspected NSCN (Isak-Muivah) militants opened gunfire as he was getting out of his helicopter at the Ukhrul helipad. A jawan of the Manipur Rifles was injured in the firing . The incident took place when the CM stepped out of the helicopter and was being greeted by government officials.
The Chief Minister was in Ukhrul to inaugurate a government hospital in Hundung and to launch other developmental projects. Ibobi’s helicopter immediately took off and left for Chingai but could not land at the remote village due to protests. This prompted the CM to cancel his programme and fly back to the state capital, wherein he called for an emergency cabinet meeting. Later Ibobi accused NSCN (IM) militants of ambushing him.
Naga bodies cry foul
However this incident didn’t go down well with the Naga bodies and sparked off a war of words between the two. However the accusations of the CM fell flat on their face after NSCN (IM) denied any responsibility for the incident. The Naga group also accused Ibobi of ‘staging the incident’ for political gains.
‘Ibobi was to inaugurate the development projects in Ukhrul on October 15 to boost his government’s dwindling image on ahead of the assembly election. Security was therefore beefed prior to the visit especially in the three venues where Ibobi was to have visited.
We are asking Ibobi not to blame NSCN (IM) for his failures as NSCN (IM) is completely clean on this issue and had nothing to his staged-managed ambush.’, the group stated.
The United Naga Council (UNC) and Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) have also thrown their weight behind NSCN (IM) and have said that the CM stage-managed the entire episode. TNL president Weapon Zimik also pointed out that with the huge number of security personnel deployed for the chief minister and his convoy it was not possible for any militant group to ambush. A 24-hour bandh was imposed by TNL protesting against Ibobi’s visit to Ukhrul.