RK Ranjan cancels programmes in Kerala, leaves for home


Kochi: Union Minister of State for External Affairs R K Ranjan Singh on Friday cancelled all his programmes scheduled here following the attack on his house in Manipur by a violent mob and said the clashes in the northeastern state were not communal but due to a misunderstanding between two communities.

Singh said his own house was burned down by a mob and it was not a communal issue.

“My own house has been burned down. That’s my own sweat… hard-earned money. I am not corrupt. No one is corrupt in this regime. If this was something religious, then I am a Hindu. The attackers were Hindus. So, this is not religious. This is a mob,” Singh told the media here.

The central minister said he has been trying to bring peace and stop violence since May 3 when the ethnic clashes broke out in Manipur.

“There was an incident at my residence in Manipur last night. I have been trying to bring peace and stop violence since May 3…this is all a misunderstanding between two communities. The government has set up a peace committee, the process is on. Civil society leaders are sitting together,” he said.

Singh, also a BJP leader, cancelled all his party programmes in Kerala and left for his home state following the incident.

Security guards and firefighters managed to control arson attempts by the mob and save the minister’s house from being burned down on Thursday night, police said.

The development comes after the burning of two houses, and clashes between the Rapid Action Force of Manipur and a mob in the heart of Imphal town on Thursday afternoon. The mob which roamed the town late on Thursday also clashed with security forces, the officials said.

Sounds of firing could be heard in Imphal East district till the early hours of Friday as security forces fired numerous rounds of tear gas shells and mock bombs to disperse angry locals protesting the killing of nine civilians on Wednesday.

More than 100 people have lost their lives in the ethnic violence, including nine in the Khamenlok area on Wednesday, between members of Meitei and Kuki communities in Manipur that broke out a month ago.

The state has imposed a curfew in 11 districts and banned internet access in a bid to stop the spread of rumours in the state.

Clashes first took place on May 3 after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals – Nagas and Kukis – constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts. (Courtesy: PTI)