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Naga highway blockade from August 4

A Naga organisation on Sunday announced its decision to impose a 20-day economic blockade on Manipur from 6 am of August 4. Rahul Karmakar reports.

india Updated: Aug 02, 2010 00:40 IST
Rahul Karmakar

A Naga organisation on Sunday announced its decision to impose a 20-day economic blockade on Manipur from 6 am of August 4.

The United Naga Council (UNC) said the "partisan" government's indifference to their "just demands" was the reason behind the decision to choke national highways 39 and 53. Life along these arterial highways - they connect Manipur capital Imphal to the rest of India - was beginning to normalise after a 69-day blockade that ended June 18.

The UNC had supported the earlier blockade the All Naga Students' Association, Manipur had imposed to protest the elections to "dummy" tribal councils across the hills of the state.

"The government of India failed to response to our ultimatum which ended on July 31," said a UNC communiqué on Sunday. "The ultimatum was served following the severance of all political ties with the government of Manipur by the Naga people in the Naga Peoples' Convention held on July 1 and their decision to seek New Delhi's intervention for an alternative arrangement for the Nagas in Manipur."

The UNC had in its memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 27 outlined four demands. They included a judicial probe into the May 6 incident at Mao Gate (Manipur-Nagaland border) where two students were shot dead by the security forces.

Another demand was the immediate withdrawal of section 144 and 'demilitarisation' of Naga areas by removal of the Indian Reserved Battalion and Manipur Police commandos. The UNC also sought dissolution of the "undemocratically instituted" autonomous district councils.

"We appeal to all to extend their cooperation towards this expression (20-day economic blockade) of our democratic rights," a senior UNC functionary said.