Manipur seeks additional forces to tackle Naga blockade

Imphal, Dec 2 (IANS) The Manipur government has sought additional central paramilitary personnel to open about 60 posts along the two national highways, which are the lifelines of the state.

The move on Thursday evening came after the High Court bench comprising of Chief Justice Rakesh Ranjan Prasad, Justice N. Koteswor and Justice K. Nobin ordered the government to ensure safe and free movement of vehicles along the two highways.

The bench was acting on a petition filed by R.K. Joysana, a resident of Imphal. It appreciated the proposal of advocate Ahanthem Romenkumar to protect the bridges and culverts on the two national highways.

The United Naga Council on November 1 imposed an indefinite economic blockade on the Imphal-Dimapur (NH 2) and Imphal-Jiribam (NH 37) highways to protest the state government’s move to create two districts — Jiribam and Sadar Hills. The central government has not intervened so far.

The Nagas fear that their “lands” will be usurped when the two separate districts are created.

In an earlier order, the court on November 25 directed the Okram Ibobi Singh government to ensure the movement of vehicles along the two highways.

It directed the government to restore safe traffic along the NH 2, which passes through Nagaland, within five days.

The Nagas had earlier torched two trucks along the NH 2 and destroyed dozens of vehicles. The valley dwellers of Manipur in response torched a taxi in Khumbong near Imphal on Thursday.

People have been destroying various items, including consumer goods, which are being transported to the tribal areas.

Though the police have been bringing hundreds of trucks, oil tankers and other vehicles along the NH 37, the NH 2 has been impassable.

Shortly after the court’s order, the police and paramilitary personnel escorted many trucks stranded since November 2 at Mao, Manipur border region along the NH 2.

People have been facing shortages of commodities and most of the consumer items have vanished from the market.

Those items which are still available are sold at extortionate prices. Petrol is also strictly rationed.

–IANS

il/py/vt

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