Imphal, Dec 23 (IANS) Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju on Friday met Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh over the economic blockade by Naga groups, and said the Centre will extend all assistance to restore normalcy in the state.
Rijiju visited the state with senior home ministry officials to review the law and order situation in the wake of the economic blockade by the Nagas, who are opposing the creation of new districts from areas inhabited by Naga people.
“I have come to Imphal to see what kind of assistance that can be given to state government under current circumstances. Under the federal structure of Constitution, law and order is a state subject. However, the Centre is ready to extend all assistances in the larger interest of the people,” Rijiju told reporters after the meeting.
He said, “Two national highways — NH 2 and NH 37 — targeted by the Nagas for blockade as they were the lifeline of Manipur, shall remain open so that no people suffer.”
Disclosing that the Centre has already sent 150 companies of para military forces in Manipur, Rijiju said: “At the request of the state government, seven additional companies are on their way.”
The economic blockade which entered its 52nd day was started by Naga groups when the Manipur government was planning to make Jiribam and Sadar Hills fullfledged districts.
The blockade and protest intensified after the government ignored the agitation and went ahead to declare Jirbam as a fullfledged district. The state government also created new districts of Kangpokpi, Tengoupal, Pharzol, Kakching, Noney and Kamjongin.
However, they could not make Sadar Hills a new district because of the strong opposition by the Naga inhabitants.
Rijiju said the economic blockade is not acceptable and essential items should be freely available.
According to informed sources, 500 trucks and oil tankers left for Imphal on Friday to transport various items from Assam. All the stranded vehicles were escorted by CRPF personnel.
The state authorities also relaxed the curfew during the day in Imphal East and Imphal West districts.