139-day-old NH blockade finally ends in Manipur

Posted On Monday, 20 March 2017 12:08

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IMPHAL: Ahead of its floor test in the assembly on Monday, the BJP-led coalition government achieved a significant breakthrough when it managed to convince the United Naga Council (UNC) to lift its four-month-long economic blockade on the Imphal-Dimapur and Imphal-Silchar highways. The UNC decided to lift the blockade, which had left Manipur teetering on the edge, from Sunday midnight, 139 days after it had launched its protest against the creation of new districts by the former Congress government. The outfit claimed that the move was detrimental to the interests of Nagas as it ended up dividing their ancestral areas. They demanded a rollback and threatened to continue the stir if it was not done. The decision to end the blockade was taken at a tripartite meeting between the UNC, the newly-formed state government and the Centre at the district headquarters of Senapati.

The meeting was held at the behest of the Nongthombam Biren Singh government which had said that its first agenda after coming to power would be to end the prolonged economic blockade. The announcement by the UNC was met with jubilation, loud cheers and bursting of crackers. Following a threadbare discussion on Sunday, an agreement statement released on the occasion, stated "the grievances of the UNC which led to the imposition of economic blockade by them was recognised as there was non-adherence to the four MoUs and the Centre's assurance on the matter". It added, "As the MoUs said that creation of new districts would not be done without consulting the stakeholders, the state government agreed to start consultation with all stakeholders to redress the same." Following the tripartite meeting, the Naga civil apex body said, "To create conducive environment for the democratic process of consultation and dialogue, the UNC will lift the economic blockade with effect from tonight (Sunday midnight)."

News source: Times of India

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