Imphal, Aug 16 (IANS) Thousands of tourists, traders and local residents were stranded in Manipur’s Moreh town, reeling under a severe shortage of essential food items and life-saving medicines, as a result of an indefinite highway blockade.
The Trans-Asian Highway 102, the only supply route to the border town, was blockaded on August 10 by the supporters of slain Jamkholal Zou, a self-styled captain of the United Kuki Liberation Front, demanding the arrest of his killers.
The UKLF and the Kuki National Organisation (KNO) agreed to a truce on October 24, 2015. However, suspected KNO insurgents abducted Zou on July 2, 2016 and allegedly killed him. Zou’s bloated body was fished out of the Menal river in Myanmar a few days later.
Amang Haokip, convener of the Joint Action Committee backing the blockade, told IANS that being signatories to the suspension of operations both the outfits cannot indulge in crimes of any sort. “We have not allowed any vehicular movement and will continue to do so until the killers are accounted for,” he said.
Tribal chieftains and other organisations have also extended support to the blockade.
Meanwhile, no attempt has been made by the government to ensure free movement of the vehicles yet.
N. Rabei, a taxi driver told IANS that it is incomprehensible why the government is not trying to open the highway. Most of the tourists and drivers have run out of money. There was no food, medicines etc in Moreh and the people were staring at starvation.
He said, “The government should immediately intervene since people are suffering.”
While Moreh police declined to comment, one personnel told IANS, “This is a case which should be handled from the high level and the police station at the border town could do very little.”