The United Naga Council (UNC) on Tuesday decided to extend its economic blockade, which was to end on Tuesday after over three weeks, to 25 more days on two vital highways of Manipur, saying its demands have not been met.
The blockade had began by the UNC on Imphal-Dimapur-Guwahati NH-39 and Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar NH 53 on August 4 demanding, among others, lifting of Section 144 CrPC and withdrawal of state forces from some hill areas.
A UNC spokesman said the decision to extend the 20-day blockade was taken at a meeting on August 21 as the government had not conceded to the demands. Official sources said the UNC's decision to extend the blockade followed the August 19 statement of Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in Lok Sabha ruling out division of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh to accommodate the demand of Nagalim or Greater Nagaland.
They said despite the blockade, vehicles laden with essential items and escorted by central forces have been plying along the two national highways. The August 4 blockade began after a crippling 68-day economic blockade of the NH-39 and NH-53, called by the All Naga Students Association, Manipur, had ended on June 18. It was called in protest against holding of elections to the autonomous district councils in the hills.