No side budging, no solution in sight to Manipur’s economic blockade
A solution to the two-month-old crippling Naga indefinite economic blockade of Manipur is nowhere in sight with Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh and the United Naga Council (UNC) not budging from their respective stands, officials said.
The UNC had imposed the indefinite blockade on November 1 in protest against the government’s plan to create two new districts.
According to the UNC, several “lands of the Nagas” will be usurped by the new districts.
However the government responded by creating seven, and not two, new districts.
All sections of people welcomed it saying that apart from administrative convenience this has been their long standing demand for speedy development.
Ibobi told IANS that first UNC should call off the blockade and give an assurance that it will not be repeated. Only after that can talks be held and Gaidon Kamei and Stephen Lamkang, two UNC leaders, may be released to create a conducive atmosphere.
Chief secretary Oinam Nabakishore said: “One of the conditions of UNC is that the talks should be held in the district headquarters of Senapati.”
In response, Ibobi said, “The UNC is a club of a handful of persons. If the government goes to Senapati district all other organisations may put such conditions in future. At the most we are ready to go to Delhi for the proposed tripartite talks.”
Kiren Rijiju, the Union minister of state for home affairs, recently said that the Manipur government is not serious about ending the blockade. Ibobi denies, saying that there was no question of playing politics since it is a question of starving the people of the state.
Manipur has been without consumer items, baby foods, building materials and other items since November 1 as a result of the blockade.
Rijiju who said that the “blockade is totally unacceptable” had despatched additional paramilitary personnel who are being used to escort trucks and oil tankers along the NH 37.
But the UNC said that it will intensify the agitation.
From Saturday, it is picketing government offices in the Naga dominated areas in the hill districts.