Imphal: A three-day total blockade called by Naga leaders has starts in parts of Manipur regardless of an appeal by union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh to Naga groups to suspend their protest, an official reports said Friday.
The blockade, which begins Thursday night, has badly affected life. Naga leaders says that this is to protest the Manipur government’s agreement with leaders of the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC).
“Shops, banks, offices and educational institutions were shut while vehicular traffic remained off the road in Naga tribal dominated areas, especially in northern and western Manipur, due to the stir,” a government official told to the reporters here Friday.
“Life was crippled in the hilly regions. No untoward incident has been reported yet from anywhere in the mountainous areas adjacent to Nagaland and Assam,” the official added.
A joint statement issued by the United Naga Council (UNC) and the All-Naga Students’ Association in Manipur (ANSAM) said that “The state government’s handling of the issue of formation of a new district is condemnable.”
“The Manipur government had signed an agreement with leaders of the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC) Monday midnight without consensus. The accord is in complete violation of the agreement the government had reached with the Naga bodies earlier,” the statement said.
The SHDDC had launched the economic blockade August 1 on two arterial national highways are Imphal-Dimapur-Guwahati (NH 39) and Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar (NH53) – to press the demand for conversion of Kuki tribal majority SadarHills area into a district.
The Nagas have since August 1 also launched a counter-blockade on the two highways opposing the demand by the Kuki people for a separate district.