Shambu Singh, the Joint Secretary (Northeast), Ministry of Home Affairs and Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh, have denied the charge of the Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio that they pulled strings not to allow his helicopter to land in Tamenglong district of Manipur when he wanted to visit the state for addressing election rallies. Mr. Shambu Singh said that he had nothing to do with the issue since it was a matter to be decided by the Election Commission of India.

Mr. Okram Ibobi said that he had no role to play in the matter. He said that if Mr. Rio had informed the Manipur government about his visit he would have been accorded VIP treatment including full fledged security coverage.

Addressing an election rally in Churachandpur district, Mr. Okram Ibobi Singh said that Mr. Rio is shedding crocodile’s tears by concealing facts. He pointed out that Mr. Rio has been saying that the Nagas of Manipur and Nagaland are one. “The undeniable fact is that there is discrimination between these two groups,” he said.

“In the past, one Naga student from Mao in Manipur who was studying in Nagaland was denied prizes and stipend despite the fact that he had topped in the examination. This was because the student was from Manipur. He further said that some Nagas who had passed the examinations conducted by the Nagaland Public Service Commission were not appointed since they are from Manipur. This kind of discrimination is not seen in Manipur,” he added.

Mr. Okram Singh appealed to the people to stay away from Mr. Rio who has been spewing communal venom in election speeches in Manipur. It may be recalled that a Congress MLA Biren Nongthombam had filed a complaint with the Election Commission of India saying that Mr. Rio has violated model code of conduct and he is stoking the communal fire in Manipur.

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