Manipur blockade lifted

Sobhapati Samom
 IMPHAL, March 19 – The longest-ever economic blockade on Manipur Highways by United Naga Council (UNC) over the creation of new districts in the volatile North- eastern border State came to an end on the 139th day on Sunday.

“We have decided to lift the blockade from midnight tonight following an understanding reached with us during a tripartite talk in Senapati involving representatives of Centre and State Government here,” said UNC general secretary S Milan on phone from Senapati district headquarters, 60 km north of Imphal.

Manipur has been reeling under an indefinite economic blockade by UNC in protest against the creation of Sadar Hills and Jiribam into fullfledged districts, since November 1 last.

The talk between the representatives of Centre, State and UNC was attended by Additional Chief Secretary Suresh Babu and Commissioner (Home) Radha Kumar representing Manipur Government, while Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) North East in-charge Satyender Garg represented Government of India. Former presidents of UNC Paul Leo, Samson Remei and Lohrii Adani, UNC general secretary S Milan, ANSAM president Shatsang and Naga Women Union president LM Tabitha also attended the talk.

As per the understanding, Manipur Government will unconditionally release the arrested UNC president Gaidon Kamei and its publicity secretary Stephen besides closing all the cases against Naga tribe leaders and student leaders in connection with the blockade.

UNC will also lift the blockade with immediate effect to create conducive environment for the democratic process of consultation and dialogue, sources said. At the same time, the State Government agrees to start consultation with all the stakeholders to redress the issues. “The next tripartite talks will be held within a month at political level,” it added.

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