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Uproar against ‘hate speech’

- Cong MLA lodges complaint against Rio with poll panel
 

Imphal, March 31: Manipur’s former minister and Congress MLA lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio, accusing him of violating model code of conduct by making “hate speeches”.

Neiphiu Rio “entered” Manipur to campaign for Naga Peoples’ Front (NPF) and was making “hate speeches” to create tension among communities in Manipur, Nongthombam Biren Singh charged in his complaint sent to deputy election commissioner Vinod Zutshi yesterday.

Rio has been campaigning for Soso Lorho, who is contesting as an NPF candidate in the Outer constituency.

The Nagaland chief minister kicked off his Manipur tour on March 26 with an election rally in Senapati district headquarters. He addressed a similar rally in Tamenglong district on March 29. Rio again visited Manipur today to address two rallies in Chandel and Ukhrul districts.

The complaint, however, does not detail the “hate speeches”.

Biren Singh told The Telegraph that he had sent video clippings of the hate speeches to the Election Commission.

Rio has been saying in his addresses that chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh was the Nagas’ number one enemy because Ibobi Singh had tried to prevent him from entering Manipur in 2011 to launch the state’s unit of the NPF.

Rio also accused Ibobi Singh of playing divide and rule policy among the tribals in the hills.

Biren Singh in his complaint said the aim of the NPF was to integrate the Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh with Nagaland. “This clause itself is provocative,” he said.

Biren Singh urged the Election Commission to look into the matter and also review the status of the NPF as a registered regional party.

Earlier, Ibobi Singh and deputy chief minister Gaikhangam also accused Rio of making “hate speeches”.

Reacting to the complaint, the Manipur unit of the NPF today denied the allegations that the Nagaland chief minister made hate speeches or inflammatory speeches during his election addresses in Manipur.

“Rio had said Okram Ibobi Singh failed to protect the interest of the hill people, while he served the high command for three consecutive terms, which is true,” Athuan Abonmai, the general-secretary of the Manipur unit of the NPF, said.

Abonmai said though Rio said Ibobi Singh was the Nagas’ enemy number one because he had prevented NSCN (I-M) leader Th. Muivah from visiting his home in Ukhrul and tried to prevent Rio from entering Manipur.

Rio never said Meiteis were enemy of the Nagas, he added.

The NPF is yet to receive any notice from the Election Commission relating to the complaint. “We are ready to explain everything to the Election Commission if we need to clarify on the allegations,” Abonmai said.


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