Police restrict Congress leaders from offering tribute to Mahatma Gandhi

IMPHAL,9th July: A rally organised by Manipur Pradesh Youth Congress (MPYC) to offer floral tribute to the statue of Mahatma Gandhi at MG Avenue on the occasion of 76th anniversary of Quit India Movement was stopped by police restricting the Congress leaders, members, workers and volunteers from paying tributes to the Father of Nation on Thursday. Since early morning, MPCC leaders, members & workers of MPCC, Seva Dal, Youth Congress and NSUI gathered at Congress Bhawan for observing the 76th anniversary of the non-violent movement against the British Empire spearheaded by Mahatma Gandhi.

The rally started at about 9.30 am and was led by former chief minister O Ibobi, MPCC president TN Haokip, former deputy chief minister Gaikhangam, MLA Dr Chaltonlien Amo, ex-MLAs Dr Ng Bijoy and I Hemochandra, Mahila Congress president L Tilotama, youth Congress president Md Amir Hussain and other party leaders.

However, police personnel, who were already stationed there in large number with barricades, stopped the rally at the gate citing lack of permission from the DC. As the situation escalated to a verbal war between the Congress members and police, additional chief magistrate of Imphal West arrived there and showed an order denying permission to carry out the rally since the route has been defined as hyper sensitive zone.

Ex-MLA I Hemochandra, after reading the official document, said that the document only defines the area as hyper sensitive but does not mention any restriction on carrying out the rally and demanded police to allow free passage. As the situation resulted into a brief tussle, police resorted to lobbing tear gas shells among the Congress members to contain the situation. Denouncing the police action, Ibobi said that the observance is an annual event and they already applied for permission to carry out the rally.

However, the authority did not give the permission in complete disregard of the Father of the Nation, who has been recognised even by the United Nations Organisation (UNO) for his non-violent movement against the British colonial rule. Restricting such an observance and showing utter disrespect to a national leader like Mahatma Gandhi is an anti-national act of the lowest standard. Suppressing the voice of people and violating the rights of the people in the world’s largest democracy by the BJP government is nothing but dictatorship. It is a blot on the democracy, Ibobi contended.

It is shameful for the BJP government to suppress the people including media in order to carry out its diktats. During the 15 years of Congress rule, the government gave permission to every political party on any issue even though the government had to ask them to choose another route other than sensitive zones. The act of BJP government is a serious breach on the rights of the people, he lamented.
Earlier, MPCC president TN Haokip led party members and workers in offering floral tributes to the portrait and statue of Mahatma Gandhi at Congress Bhawan. Youth Congress also hoisted its flag and sang national anthem as part of the observance.

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