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Imphal Valley’s vulnerable road connectivity
Manipur is connected to rest of India through just one highway, NH 2, previously NH39.
This highway passes through hill districts of Manipur and connects Assam via Nagaland (Kohima and Dimapur).
There is also another NH 37 ( previously NH 53) which connects Assam and rest of country via city of Silchar of Assam which passes through hill districts of Manipur.
Meitei people live in Imphal Valley while ethnic Naga communities live in hill districts of Manipur.
(Both roads to the Valley, thus, pass through Naga communities.)
Why blockades happen in Manipur and how
When an economic blockade happens in Manipur, it is mainly done by civil societies of either the Naga or the Kuki. In Manipur, all the National Highways pass through the Kuki and the Naga congested area. Thus, the economic blockade conducted by the Kuki group or the Naga group for their own interest is one of the effective means to lobby with the Government‟s decision making process. Armed groups also describe it as the last option of Pressure Tactics.
Economic blockades have been used as a means of agitation since the 1990s for any kind of contests between different ethnic communities and also for their assertive and re-assertive demands.
The Naga civil organizations often launch economic blockades just to put pressure on the Union and the State government and urge that it is not against the spiral community.
The impact on Manipur
What really comes across during such economic disruptions are a couple of things about this landlocked state. Most glaring is the state’s utter dependence on other states for sustenance even for basic survival. Despite having fertile land, Manipur depends on other states for items like potatoes, onions and lentils.
When the Naga peace process (NSCN-IM and Government of India) appeared to be floundering, an impetus to Naga demand was provided by the ill-timed decision of Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh. In a hasty decision, Ibobi Singh declared June 18 as “State Integration Day”.
That is the day in 2001 when at least 24 people were killed and dozens wounded in Manipur‟s capital Imphal after police open fired to disperse agitators protesting against New Delhi‟s decision to extend the jurisdiction of a ceasefire with the NSCNIM beyond Nagaland to cover Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. The Nagas of Manipur perceive the government's move to commemorate the 2001 uprising as a challenge to their goal of integrating all Naga-inhabited areas of the region. However the citizens are of the opinion that the government should preserve and protect the territorial integrity of Manipur
By this decision, Ibobi Singh wanted to make political capital in Manipur. But it also stirred emotions in Nagaland and in Naga dominated areas of Manipur. This decision provided the trigger for the blockade as it was contrary to the position of NSCN. The All Naga Students‟ Association of Manipur (ANSAM) stated that the decision of Manipur government was against the Naga demand for the unification of all Naga dominated areas, including those in Manipur. The organization started a blockade to force the Manipur government to withdraw this decision.
The government in Manipur is caught in a bind as a blockade enforced by a Naga organisation cuts off supplies for Imphal.
THE 223-km-long abandoned National Highway No. 53 (Imphal-Silchar road) turned into a highway of hope for Manipur when a convoy of 230 trucks and tankers rolled out at the crack of dawn on July 19, exactly one month after the State's main supply line, National Highway 39 (Imphal-Dimapur road), was choked by an indefinite economic blockade imposed by the All Naga Students' Association, Manipur (ANSAM). The Okram Ibobi Singh-led Secular Progressive Front (SPF) government heaved a sigh of relief when the trucks hit the alternative lifeline, with security forces in tow, from Imphal to fetch supplies from Assam's Silchar and other places for replenishing stocks in Imphal godowns, which had depleted rapidly because of the blockade.
However, the government's hopes of tiding over the crisis were crushed when saboteurs bisected a suspension bridge along this alternative lifeline. The blockade had created an unprecedented crisis in Manipur as stocks of essential commodities depleted rapidly, leading to shortages and sky-rocketing of prices. Hundreds of trucks were stranded at the entry point at Mao gate in Nagaland on National Highway No. 39, which connects Imphal with Kohima and was the only supply line to the State until N.H. 53 was repaired, sanitised and reopened on July 19.
Rice was sold at Rs.50 a kg, about five times the normal price; an LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) cylinder, normally priced Rs.300, was selling at Rs.600; kerosene prices shot up to Rs.32 a litre. The State government rationed the sale of petrol and diesel with no supplies coming in from outside. At least six trucks, including oil tankers, trying to defy the blockade were set ablaze. The ANSAM blockade received full steam on July 12 when the Naga Students' Federation (NSF) also announced an "indefinite economic blockade" on highways linking the Imphal valley, which remained cut off, in support of the demand for the unification of Naga-inhabited areas of the region.
The move came a day after Naga groups entrusted the apex student body of Nagaland to coordinate the agitation that has been carried out since June 22 by Naga students in Manipur's hill districts. Noting with grave concern the involvement of Nagaland-based non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in the "internal affairs" of Manipur, the United Committee Manipur (UCM) demanded that any dialogue initiated to defuse the situation with ANSAM should not involve Nagaland-based NGOs such as the Naga Hoho or the NSF.
The blockade called by the Naga students' body in Manipur and backed by the NSF and other Naga NGOs of Nagaland brought to the fore the larger issue of protecting Manipur's territorial integrity. The ANSAM imposed the economic blockade in the four hill districts of Tamenglong, Chandel, Ukhrul and Senapati, cutting off the remaining five districts of the State from the rest of the country. The blockade was in protest against the Ibobi Singh government's declaration of June 18 as "State Integrity Day". The ANSAM described it as a "coercive and belligerent attitude towards a peaceful assertion of the Naga people's democratic will", which it described as "highly irresponsible and as an attempt on the part of the government to distort facts".
The `great June uprising' in Manipur was a direct fallout of the previous National Democratic Alliance government's declaration of the extension of the ceasefire with the National Socialist Council of Nagalim - Isaac-Muivah (NSCN-IM) in 2001, without territorial limits and beyond Nagaland, which was seen as a prelude to conceding the rebel group's demand for integration of the Naga-inhabited areas of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, including the four Naga-inhabited hill districts of Manipur that account for two-thirds of the territory of the troubled State. Altogether 20 protesters lost their lives in firing by security forces. It has been a rallying point for the people in Manipur for the last four years to oppose any move by the Centre to concede to the NSCN (I-M) demand for a greater Nagalim and the merger of the four hill districts in the proposed Nagalim. While the decision to declare June 18 as "State Integrity Day" prompted ANSAM to resort to the indefinite blockade, the agitation by the Naga students' body in Manipur has come in the backdrop of NSCN (I-M) leaders' return to their bases abroad after eight months of negotiations with the Centre. The talks failed to evolve any solution to the outfit's demand for the integration of Naga-inhabited areas, owing to stiff opposition from Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.
On May 27, a memorandum signed by 13 Naga Members of Parliament and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) of Manipur, including former Chief Minister Rishang Keishing who is now a Rajya Sabha member, was submitted to the Prime Minister. The letter stated: "In case of territorial integration of the Naga areas, we believe that it is our sincere question and the basic fundamental right of the Naga people to be under one political entity and live together. We therefore fully support the aspiration of the Naga people for integration." The unequivocal support of these Naga polticians of Manipur and the ANSAM-sponsored blockade have been seen as attempts by the NSCN (I-M) to exert influence through mass mobilisation in Manipur to mount pressure on New Delhi for the integration of the Naga-inhabited areas of the State.
The NSCN (I-M), however, refuted the Manipur government's claim that it was involved in the current agitation by Naga students in that State, but said it could not remain a "silent spectator" if New Delhi allowed Ibobi Singh to continue using "brute force" against unarmed Naga civilians. "Ibobi [Singh] and his people may cry against the NSCN for its involvement, but it has no hand in the on-going agitation of the Naga public led by the ANSAM. But how long can the NSCN remain a silent spectator?" said a statement issued by the outfit's information and publicity wing.
On July 13, ANSAM asked all the Naga MLAs and Ministers in Manipur to resign, declaring that "Naga identity and dignity cannot be safeguarded under the present arrangement of Manipur State under any circumstances". ANSAM, however, came out with another statement clarifying that it would not force anyone (of the Naga MLAs and Ministers) to resign their seats, but would not stop the Naga MLAs and Ministers from resigning or supporting the ongoing non-cooperation movement.
As ANSAM turned down pleas of the government for withdrawing the blockade, the Chief Minister tried to placate the Naga students' body by stating that the "State Integrity Day" had not been placed on the official list of general holidays and that no concrete decision had been made on whether it would be retained as a general holiday next year. On July 15, during a discussion on the current impasse in the Assembly, he declared that the decision was a mistake "if it has hurt anybody". By doing so, Ibobi Singh only attracted the wrath of leading NGOs of Manipur such as the All Manipur United Clubs Organisation (AMUCO), the UCM and the umbrella organisation Apunba Lup. The UCM warned that if the Ibobi Singh government rolled back its June 18 declaration, it would be inviting another June 18. Expressing grave concern over the imposition of the indefinite economic blockade on the National Highways, the AMUCO said that it was not the solution to any issue. In a statement, the AMUCO said that any differences could be resolved through people-to-people contact, but an economic blockade would only add to the woes of the people, not only in the valley area but also in the hills.
The NSCN-Khaplang faction, the rival of the NSCN (I-M), however, voiced its opposition to the ANSAM-sponsored blockade and accused the NSCN (I-M) of trying to divide Manipur as well as the Nagas.
The Ibobi Singh government now faces a daunting task of avoiding fissures between the people of the hill districts and the valley. Any tough move to clear the two highways of the ANSAM-blockade may provide an opportunity to the Naga groups to intensify their stir in support of the integration of Naga-inhabited areas. On the other hand, any backtracking on the issue of declaring June 18 as a "State Integrity Day" would be seen as yielding to the pressure from the Naga outfits at the expense of protecting the State's integrity.
On July 17, an all-party meeting chaired by the Chief Minister resolved to seek the Centre's intervention in solving the impasse created by the blockade and to appeal to ANSAM to call off the agitation in the interest of the general public. The meeting also decided to depute an all-political delegation to New Delhi to apprise Central leaders of the situation.
The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, however, preferred to adopt a "wait and watch" policy as it perhaps apprehends that any mishandling of the situation might jeopardise the ongoing peace process with the NSCN (I-M) and trigger another crisis.
It will be very difficult either for the Ibobi Singh government or for the UPA government at the Centre to ensure that the present impasse ends easily. Even if it succeeds in overcoming the crisis, there is little hope that ANSAM would give up its demand for integration of Naga-inhabited areas. Manipur seems poised to face a larger threat to its territorial integrity from within.
If the Government of India was to rank any of its states for having the maximum number of illegal activities of strikes, bandhs and economic blockades in a year, the stricken state of Manipur would definitely be “topping the list”.
It is evident from the details of blockades that took place between the years 2008 to 2011 as depicted in the graphic below. In Manipur, the people are regularly having to suffer from “economic blockades” which strangle the life-line of the state. Bandhs are held one after another as a routine matter against the government for any kind of demand in the name of claiming democratic rights despite the very strict “ban” imposed even by the highest judicial forum of India, the Supreme Court.
On the issue of „Muivah home-coming’ and „Autonomous District Council Election’ conducted 57 day long economic blockade by Naga civil society, but nonNagas claims that it is a torture to the entire Manipur and particularly the Meeteis. The issues were simultaneously rise up and brought out a political turmoil in Manipur because the underlying agenda of the issues are doubtful which can be against the interest of ethnic non-Naga. Remembering June 18, the people try to justify Muivah‟s home-coming as serious threat to the state politics. Peace process and Naga unification as Naga right in the one side and other side non-Naga‟s unique history, the protection of territorial integrity and law and order situation had been tussled in the local and national media. The permission of the Union Government is void and invalid (against the unitary federalism of India that order of the Union Government is rejected by state government on the interest of the state) and Mr. Muivah‟s home-coming, which was approved by the Union Government, was blocked by State Government at the Mao gate, a border town between Nagaland and Manipur. Here, the most remarkable thing is that the Secretary General of NSCN-IM, Muivah, was born at the Somdal village of Ukhrul District, Manipur. Still he has his relatives, brothers and sisters with memories of past childhood in romance. His last thirty years exile against India for campaign of the Naga unification movement is based in Nagaland. Therefore, the group NSCN-IM (fraction group of NSCN) is recognized in Manipur as C-team insurgency.
The recent  demand of the peace talks should be concluded to an Alternative Arrangement for Manipur Naga itself out of imagine Greater Nagaland contiguous Naga dominated area of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. It was supported and welcomed by some Naga community that Muivah‟s home-coming is a canvass for the Naga unification in general of the fifty years the Naga blood and tear of untold story.
In 2010, the state government decided to conduct Autonomous District Council (ADC) election and consequently, the state government conducted the election. The ADC was postponed more then 20 years as a result of the demand for the implementation of Six Schedules. The Nagas are opposing the election, until their demand to amend the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Actthird Amendment 2008 is fulfilled. They alleged the council‟s history, that the present Manipur District Council Act did not give enough monetary power to District Councils. In a statement expressed by Manipur Tribal Joint Action Committee (MTJAC) it will intensify the fight against holding elections to the District council under the New Act. With the same demand, ANSAM conducted an indefinite economic blockade along the National Highways.
In 2011, there was initially a hundred-day-plus blockade enforced by Kuki-led groups, and countered later by Naga groups, which together had a debilitating effect on life in Manipur.
In 2011, Manipur withstood a blockade that went on for more than 100 days.
SK Sharma’s Case Study: 120 Days Economic Blockade in 2011
Prior to its integration into the Indian Union, Manipur was an independent sovereign state. Both the hills and the valley had participated in the first democratic election held in 1948, and a partially democratically elected government was installed. There was fair representation of elected representatives from the hills in the government and the election did not result in any kind of ethnic or communal tensions. The issue flared up when the Maharaja of Manipur signed the Merger Agreement on September 21, 1949, as a consequence of which Manipur was formally integrated into the Indian Union on October 15, 1949. Over a period of time, the hill people (both Nagas and Kukis) forged an alliance to countervail any hegemonic incursion attempts into the political space by the Meiteis. The Nagas of Manipur became part of the Naga political movement under the nationalist movement headed by the combined Naga leadership.
The introduction of electoral politics further produced cataclysmic ruptures in the ethnic landscape of the hills and witnessed ethnicnisation of politics and politicisation of ethnicity. Over a period of time, the Nagas could maintain cultural and political unity; while, on the other hand, the Kukis could maintain cultural unity but lost out on political unity. However, the Sadar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC)22 provided a singular platform mainly to the Kukis of Sadar Hills for the cause of creating the Sadar Hills district.
Developments Leading to Blockade
The demand for the creation of the Sadar Hills district first came from the Kuki Chiefs’ Zonal Council in its meeting held on September 03, 1970. This was followed up by holding numerous rounds of talks with the government, but all these talks failed to produce any result. Under the auspices of the Kuki National Assembly, the SHDDC was formed in 1974 to demand a full-fledged revenue district status for the Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council.
SHDDC had then opposed the implementation of the report of the Committee on Reorganisation of Administrative and Police District Boundary as the political interests espoused by the different groups in the state would erupt into an unhealthy political confrontation. In a representation submitted to the then Chief Minister, SHDDC asserted the constitution of six Autonomous District Councils in the hill areas of Manipur as per the Government of Manipur’s notification dated February 14, 1971. The representation highlighted the provisions under which justice was asked for the Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council, as had been done for other hill districts.
Post Manipur attaining full-fledged statehood, several ministries made abortive attempts to propose full district status for Sadar Hills. It was in 1982 that Rishang Keishing’s Congress government attempted to declare Sadar Hills as a full-fledged revenue district by putting up an ordinance to the Governor to declare Sadar Hills as a district and the same was duly signed by the Governor. But the ordinance was withdrawn due to opposition from the then Manipur Naga Council
In 1990-91, RK Ranbir Singh’s United Front Ministry endeavoured to upgrade Sadar Hills to a district status, but the political instability prematurely ended the tenure of the state government and its efforts.
The succeeding Congress Ministry of RK Dorendro Singh also put in efforts during its regime, without success. After heading the Manipur State Congress Party government in December 1997, W Nipamacha Singh’s ministry fixed a date in October 1997 to inaugurate Sadar Hills as a revenue district at Saparmeina. Adequate buildings were constructed and all functional departments were upgraded but the final decision was not made. In 1998, a new Assembly constituency, Saitu, was created since all the hill districts were having a minimum of three Assembly constituencies each. To prepare Sadar Hills for full revenue district status, a mini-Secretariat, Sports Complex, etc. were constructed.
Blockade by SHDDC
The election of the new SHDDC leaders in June 2011 marked the revival for the demand of Sadar Hills district. The Sadar Hills District Demand Committee was thereafter renamed as Sadar Hills District-hood Demand Committee. The committee requested the state government to declare Sadar Hills as a full-fledged district before July 31, 2011, failing which seven days economic blockade on the two national highways, NH-2 and NH-37 (formerly known as NH-39 and 53 respectively) was to be called and an indefinite economic blockade thereafter, if there was no response from the government.
The non-response from the government forced the SHDDC leaders to impose the blockade on the two life-lines of Manipur, NH-2 and NH-37, with effect from 0001 hour on August 01, 2011, which was later converted to an economic blockade on September 07, 2011.23 On the eve of the visit of the Home Minister on November 01, 2011, the Government of Manipur signed the agreement with SHDDC for the grant of a separate Sadar Hill District, thereby calling off the 91-day blockade. blockade by shddc
Stand of the Naga Bodies
In the face of the ever intensifying agitation sponsored by SHDDC on both the national highways leading to the state capital, the United Naga Council (UNC) threatened the state government of Manipur with serious consequences if the Sadar Hills district was created without consulting the Nagas. This stand of the UNC was echoed in the statements of the All Naga Students Association of Manipur (ANSAM), Naga People’s Organisation (NPO), Senapati District Students’ Association (SDSA), and All Naga Women’s Union of Manipur (ANWUM) which steadfastly opposed the creation of Sadar Hills district by carving out part of Senapati district. The UNC was not willing to accept the bifurcation of the Naga areas against the wishes and consent of the Nagas. The Nagas have been resisting arbitrary encroachment and creation of artificial boundaries on their land since the colonial period and, hence, any attempt on the part of the Government of Manipur to create the Sadar Hills district without consulting the Nagas was destined to be strongly opposed. The Nagas had signed four Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with the Government of Manipur, wherein the MoU of 1998 stated that the resolution of the conflict over the issue of Sadar Hills would be brought about through a consensus of the people, to bring about lasting peace and harmony between the Nagas and the Kukis. Therefore, the government’s hasty decision in this matter is being viewed by the Nagas as a “biased attitude” towards the Kukis while maintaining a “hostile attitude” towards them.
The UNC imposed an economic blockade on all national highways in Manipur on August 21, 2011, to stall the state government’s alleged attempt to bifurcate the Naga-dominated areas to create new districts. In retaliation to the Government of Manipur’s agreement with the SHDDC, on November 01, 2011, the UNC and Naga organisations in Manipur called for a three-day total bandh, wef November 03-06, 2011, in all Naga inhabited areas, the UNC deplored the manner in which the Manipur government had executed the agreement “without consensus and consent” of Nagaland and started enforcing the bandh more vigorously. However, after leaders of the UNC met the Home Minister on November 22, 2011, and in response to the call given by the Home Minister to call off the bandh, the same was lifted wef 0600 hrs on November 29, 2011.
Lifting of Economic Blockade
After 120 days of economic blockade on the arterial National Highways 2 and 37, the agitating United Naga Council lifted the blockade on November 29, 2011. According to the UNC, it decided to lift the economic blockade on three conditions—assurance from Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to the Naga body on the Sadar Hills issue, various appeals from the church and civil organisations to lift the blockade and also taking into account the people’s suffering because of the impact of the economic blockade.
Effect of the Blockade
The four-month-long economic blockade and resultant deadlock affected the normal life of every person in this part of the country. During the course of the 92-day blockade imposed by the SHDDC, properties worth Rs 2.45 billion were estimated to have been lost, inclusive of government buildings and private vehicles which were vandalised or destroyed. According to a government report, the state exchequer suffered a loss of Rs 25.7 million every day during the course of the economic blockade. At least 20 government offices and around 45 private vehicles were set on fire by the blockade supporters. Prices of essential commodities in the Imphal Valley soared as a result of shortages, with LPG cylinders being sold in the black market for up to Rs 1,600 per cylinder, and petrol at Rs 120 a litre.25 Role of Civil Administration and Police
The civil administration and police were unable to control the agitation and remained ineffective during the period of the blockade. The ineffectiveness could be attributed to shortage of police forces, limited presence of the civil administration and police in the remote areas, and lack of training in dealing with such agitations. The terrain and ethnic spread in Manipur put constraints on the police forces to secure the NHs, whereas this facilitated the miscreants in carrying out bandhs and blockades. At times, the interference by the police could have led to collateral damage as the locals created human barriers along the National Highways. However, the Army and Assam Rifles vehicles were allowed to move during the blockade.
Hawaibam Herojit Singh’s paper
The longest economic blockade was launched by Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC) staff by the Kuki people of Manipur in demand of SARDAR HILLS to be converted into a full-fledged Revenue District.
It is a surprising event in the world. On the issue, the committee conducted 127 days long economic blockade on the National Highways (NHW No. 2 and 37) of the state. The most interesting thing is that such economic blockade is criticized by another counter economic blockade of 127 days conducted by the Naga people. Manipur Tribal Joint Action Committee (MTJAC) opposed the District Council elections, the Kukis are part of the members. However, the Kukis welcome the election and this signifies the Kukis‟ desire for peace and development (Arun: 2011). The Kuki‟s demand is when Manipur attained Statehood in 1972, The Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971 was passed by the Parliament for the creation of Six Autonomous District Councils, in which Sadar Hills District was one, with the intention that all of them will ultimately become full-fledged districts, and however, Sadar Hills has not yet given its proper due.
All the other Five District Councils have been converted into full-fledged districts more than thirty years ago, whereas, Sadar Hills is kept as part of the Senapati district till today. Sadar Hills Autonomous District Council had been functioning like other district Councils of Manipur under the same Act on equal status. The SHDDC had all along petitioned to all successive Governments to upgrade the Sadar Hills into a full-fledged district, but the same has not been fulfilled and the Act passed by the Parliament in 1971 has not been implemented in respect of Sadar hills alone (Memorandum submitted to Home Minister: August 16, 2011).
On 5 August, the State Cabinet meeting discussed on the matter of granting Districthood to Sadar Hills and pronounced it a genuine demand. The cabinet, however, decided that an in-depth deliberation and wide ranging consultation is essential before granting the demand. On 6 August SHDDC President, Ngamkhoaho Haokip blamed the editorial of a local English paper, Hueiyen Lanpao saying that the paper has needlessly provoked the people of Sadar Hills with its acerbic observation on the emerging issue. “We are thankful” for the provocation, he said with visible sarcasm.
While opposing the cabinet decision, the ANSAM always refer to the Government of Manipur that there were many Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) signed between the Nagas of Manipur and the Government of Manipur and the Naga Students‟ Federation (NSF) and the Government of Manipur during the then Chief Ministership of Rishang Keishing and W. Nipamacha Singh respectively on the proposed creation of the Sadar Hills district in the State of Manipur. The ANSAM in particular and the Nagas in general would like to reiterate the stance of the Government of Manipur that the Sadar Hills district should not be created by carving out or cutting away parts of the Naga inhabited areas in the State of Manipur. ANSAM also warns the Government of Manipur that they must not make any kinds of policies and plans to create unnecessary confrontation among the ethnic groups in Manipur.
The formation of the proposed District should be through consensus and also with the consent of the Nagas failing which the Government of Manipur will have to face unwanted consequences.
Naga organizations working in Manipur have called for a blockade for an indefinite period with the aim to halt all the cars and vehicles plying on the state and national highways that fall in the areas of Manipur that are dominated by them. The blockade is being organised in order to protest the death of a couple of protesters during last week. The United Naga Council has proclaimed that it shall not allow any vehicular traffic on the two national highways that connect Imphal, the capital of Manipur, to the remainder of India.
On August 30 2014 at Ukhrul, which lies almost 85 km from Imphal, police opened fire on the protesters and two of them died in that firing. 10 others were also injured in the firing. This is why United Naga Council (UNC hereafter), which is the leading political body of Nagas, has imposed the blockade. Recently Section 144 had been imposed in the district, whereby it was forbidden to have an assembly of more than 3 people.
However, the protesters, including the deceased, had opted to defy that and taken out a rally with the demand that the Indian Government come up with a suitable solution for the problems between Nagas and Indians. They were also protesting against the supposed bias being shown against the ethnic Nagas by the state government in Manipur.
Incidentally Ukhrul is a district with a majority Naga population. The blockade has also been called in other districts of Manipur like Senapati, Chandel and Tamenglong. These are Naga majority areas as well and are also inhabited by members of the Kuki tribe.
Recently, there has been opposition by Naga tribes against three ILP related bills which were passed in Manipur Assembly. In order to oppose such bills, various Naga organisations have started economic blockade again from midnight of Jun 9 for 10 days.
This blockade has started taking tolls now in Imphal valley where prices of essentials have gone up. Onions are selling at Rs. 40 per KG while this time there is not much shortage of fuel. But if this blockade continues fuel will also become scarce in coming days.
There is also counter economic blockade by people of the valley to hill districts being imposed along Imphal-Ukhrul road, Yairipok and Tidim Road.
This economic blockade and counter blockade has taking place for last few years and there is no solution visible to this issue. This blockade creates hardships for daily wage earners.
IMPHAL, Oct 10 2016 (IANS): The strategic National Highway 37 connecting Manipur to Assam is in the coming days set to witness several shutdowns called by various groups to press their respective demands -- spelling difficulties ahead for residents of the northeastern region.
The All Tribal Students' Union Manipur warned on Monday that "Naga and Kuki students' organisations will impose indefinite blockades in the five districts of Manipur from Wednesday if the Manipur University authorities do not revoke the resolution of the Academic Council taken on Friday endorsing UGC guidelines".
The tribal students have taken strong exception to the resolution of the Academic Council. The Manipur University has been following the Manipur government norm of reservations in admissions.
However, once it became a central university the new norm of slashing reservation quota for the tribal candidates to 7.5 per cent was to be implemented. There have been agitations and on October 3 several buildings were torched in the campus.
The Rongmei Naga Youths Front on Monday announced that it will start an indefinite blockade along the 313-km NH 37 to protest the bad condition of the mountain highway.
The call was supported by vehicle drivers plying the highway, who announced that they will repair the highway -- which runs from Goalpara to Saikhoa Ghat -- from their own resources.
Meanwhile, the coordination committee on Fuel Adulteration, formed by 21 organisations in Nagaland, has said that "its phased agitations shall begin from October 17".
It said that since the Nagaland government has refused to hand over the case relating to fuel adulteration to the CBI "we are compelled to take the step".
Vehicles will be blocked along the National Highway as the Nagaland government has allegedly refused to order a CBI inquiry into the rampant incidence of fuel adulteration.
The activists said that 80 per cent of the adulterated fuel was sold in Manipur. Though the blockade will be effective in Nagaland, it will also hit Manipur since the National Highway passes through the state.
2016, Dec-2017, Mar
The [Dec 2016] unrest began with the recent creation of seven new districts. Given that the state is divided on communal lines, this decision did not go down well with the Nagas, as they stand to lose control of their ancestral lands in two districts: Sadar and Jiribam. People doubt chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s assurance that it was only for administrative convenience. But then, given that there is a perpetual breakdown of law and order even with the earlier nine districts, the intended purpose of administrative efficiency for which the state now has 16 districts is something that’s debatable.
UNC leader L. Adani pointed out that the memoranda of understanding signed in 1981, 1992, 1996 and 1998 - backed by a written assurance given by the Centre in 2011 - mandated that no new district can be created in Manipur without the consent of the Nagas. The Telegraph
What’s unfolding is an ugly chain reaction of things. The economic blockage was imposed by the United Nagas Council (UNC) to protest to the government’s decision.
The Meiteis responded to the blockade with counter protests. Vehicles that belonged to Nagas were burnt and a place of worship was destroyed. And those enterprising Naga women who sell daily fresh produce in the local markets are conspicuous by their absence. Suddenly, it’s as if that happy co-existence is something alien to the people. It’s almost as if the shadow of an ethnic war is looming large.
The BJP-led coalition government in Manipur announced an end to the over four-month-long blockade by the United Naga Council from [20 March 2017] , reports K Sarojkumar Sharma.The 139-day blockade on the Imphal-Dimapur and Imphal-Silchar highways had left Manipur grappling for essential supplies. The decision to end the blockade was taken at a tripartite meeting between the UNC, the newly-formed state government and the Centre.
How the blockade was lifted
Biren Singh made his peace move at the very first public address after becoming CM.
He promised the Naga people as well as the Meitei people that his govt would focus on equal development.
He assured Naga groups of holding one of his initial cabinet meetings in the hills (Naga areas).
NEW DELHI: How did BJP's first CM in Manipur N Biren Singh ensure that one of the biggest poll promises his party made could be fulfilled days after he took over.
The new CM had made up his mind to deal with the issue as first thing after taking office. He was averse to initially make any show of force.
Biren Singh made his peace move at the very first public address after becoming CM. He promised the Naga people from the hills as well as the Meitei people in the plains — the basic divide in the state — that his government would focus on equal development. He assured Naga groups of holding one of his initial cabinet meetings in the hills (Naga areas).
Singh called out to the United Naga Council (UNC), the apex body of the Nagas in the state, and also threatened to deploy 172 companies of CRPF and 22 battalions of Assam Rifles if they didn't lift the blockade. On the other hand, he said he would prefer if the UNC agreed to talks .
Without wasting any time, Biren Singh sat for negotiations and agreed to unconditionally release UNC president Gaidon Kamei and its publicity secretary Stephen Lamkang, who were arrested for their alleged role in violence during the blockade, and also close all cases against the Naga leaders.