Congress yatra to start from different Manipur venue | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Congress yatra to start from different Manipur venue

Jan 11, 2024 08:48 AM IST

The Congress’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will begin next week from a private ground in Manipur’s Thoubal district and not capital Imphal as announced earlier, the party said on Wednesday.

The Congress’s Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will begin next week from a private ground in Manipur’s Thoubal district and not capital Imphal as announced earlier, the party said on Wednesday, accusing the state’s Bharatiya Janata Party led government of first denying permission and then imposing too many conditions on the previously planned venue.

Manipur has been in the throes of ethnic violence since early May last year. (PTI)
Manipur has been in the throes of ethnic violence since early May last year. (PTI)

Senior leader Rahul Gandhi’s upcoming east-to-west march is scheduled to cover 6,700 kms over 66 days, across 15 states and 110 districts. The yatra, where Gandhi will largely travel by bus, is scheduled to begin on January 14 from Imphal and end in Mumbai on March 20.

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On Wednesday morning, a Congress delegation led by state unit chief K Meghachandra met chief minister N Biren Singh at his residence in Imphal and requested permission to start the yatra from Hafta Kangjeibung, a popular public ground in Imphal East district. After the meeting, the Congress said that the CM refused to grant permission for the venue.

“The CM declined to give permission despite our request. It’s unfortunate and has hurt not just our sentiments, but those of the people of the state. It’s a violation of our constitutional rights as well,” Meghachandra said.

The Congress then decided to shift the venue to a private ground in Khongjom in Thoubal district, around 30 km from Imphal.

In the afternoon, the office of the district magistrate of Imphal East issued an order allowing “only flagging off of the yatra with limited number of participants...to prevent an untoward incident and disturbance in law and order”.

The order, which HT has seen, mentioned that the number and names of participants should be provided in advance to the district office.

“The move to first deny us permission of the venue and later giving conditional approval is deliberate. The order is vague and comes after we, in consultation with the Congress leadership, already decided to shift the venue to Thoubal. We will go ahead with the new venue,” said Meghachandra.

“There will be no change in our schedule except the venue. The state government’s moves are being witnessed by people of Manipur and this will ensure that our yatra will be a very successful one,” he added.

Manipur government spokesperson and state health minister Sapam Ranjan Sigh didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.

In Delhi, Congress general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh and Congress general secretary KC Venugopal said that the upcoming march would be a “grand success”.

Venugopal blamed the Manipur government and said it had denied them permission. “Our request is clear that to make a peaceful Manipur, when we are starting a yatra from east to west, then how can we avoid Manipur? What message are we giving to the people of the country? The yatra needs to start from Manipur only,” he said. 

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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