People at Nagarbera village of Assam mourn the labourers killed in the Manipur blast on Saturday. (PTI)
Imphal, Sept. 16: Manipur deputy chief minister Gaikhangam today said the state government was ready to hand over the Imphal blast case to the CBI, if necessary.
Reacting to an All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) demand on these lines, Gaikhangam, who is also the state home minister, said if needed, the state government would not hesitate to hand over the case to the central agency.
Suspected militants hurled a Chinese grenade into a shed housing migrant labourers engaged in covering the Naga nullah at Nagamapal on Friday night, killing five on the spot. Four died later that night. The condition of one of the 12 labourers wounded in the blast is still critical.
Though no militant group has claimed responsibility for the blast till date, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has started probing the case.
AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal had written to Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde demanding a CBI probe into the attack, stating that it appeared to be the handiwork of some militant group.
Ajmal also charged the Manipur government with having failed to ensure the safety of migrant workers in the state. He said this was not the first such incident, as migrant workers had been killed in Manipur in the past too.
The AIUDF also felt that the ex gratia announced by the state government — Rs 4 lakh — was not enough.
Gaikhangam said the Manipur government and police were doing everything to nab those responsible for the attack and also protect the migrant labourers in the state. He said migrants staying and working in vulnerable areas were being sheltered in a dharamshala here and armed guards had been deployed at major projects sites employing a large number of migrants.
“The chief minister is away in New Delhi on important official work. We will discuss the matter further when he returns and will do whatever necessary to book the culprits,” he said.
The attack had evoked strong reactions from several political parties, including the Opposition Manipur Peoples Party, Trinamul and the state unit of BJP, all demanding arrest of the culprits.
Earlier, addressing the 40th foundation day of All Manipur Working Journalists’ Union here, Gaikhangam said such killings would not benefit anyone, including those responsible for it, and those behind the attack should come to their senses.