Economic blockade sprawls into multiple blockades, common people hit hard

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Churchil-__-counter-blockades-4-508x400IMPHAL, Jun 17: The 10-day economic blockade along National Highways passing through hill areas of Manipur has taken a heavy toll on common people, especially daily wage earners as increasing prices of essential commodities hit them.
Onion is now sold at Rs 40 in Imphal. Prices of other vegetables and edible items have also gone up as the strike called by tribal organisations entered its eighth day on Friday.
The economic blockade imposed by the JAC against Anti-Tribal Bills backed by Outer Manipur Tribal Forum (OMTF) began from June 9 midnight in protest against three ILP related Bills passed by the Manipur Assembly on August 31 last year.
Fuel shortage is not a problem this time because almost all oil pumps continue to operate normally in the valley.
Meanwhile, several social organisations in the valley, mostly women bodies and local clubs, have been enforcing counter economic block- ades in retaliation.
“Our counter blockade is not against any community. We’ll not allow fetching of consumer goods from the valley where supply has been cut off due to the economic blockade in the hills. If they withdraw the strike, we’ll follow suit,” a counter blockade supporter said.
The counter strike has attracted condemnation from several tribal civil societies. The Zeliangrong Youth Front alleged that the counter blockade imposed against the hill tribal people is the reflection of “deep divide” between the people living in the hills and valley.
It said the only solution for ensuring long lasting peaceful and communal harmony among these commu- nities will be to grant an alternative arrangement for the tribal people.
In retaliation to the 10-days economic blockade being imposed on the National High- ways, counter economic blockade has been launched at Khonghampat Awang Leikai and Pheidinga along Imphal-Dimapur highway.
The 10-days economic blockade was called by the JAC Against Anti-Tribal Bills and the Outer Manipur Tribal Forum (OMTF) which was constituted by the United Naga Council, Zomi Council, Thadou Inpi and Hmar Inpi.
Taking strong exception to the continuous economic blockade, local club volunteers and local Meira Paibi activists launched counter economic blockade at Khong- hampat Awang Leikai from today.
Similar counter economic blockade was also launched at Pheidinga. There the economic blockade was imposed by youth club volunteers and Meira Paibis of Loitang Khullen, Loitang Khunou, Loitang Leikinthabi, Loitang Salum, Loitang Khullen Awang Leikai and Pheidinga.
Khonghampat Apunba Meira Paibi Lup president L Brajamani said that they would impose counter economic blockade as long as the economic blockade continues.
At Khonghampat and Pheidinga, counter economic blockade supporters checked all vehicles which came from the direction of Imphal.
Whatever goods they found while checking the vehicles were impounded and kept at Khonghampat Awang Leikai community hall.
They volunteers noted names and phone numbers of owners of all the impounded goods. They said that the goods would be returned to their owners after the counter economic blockade is over.
Notably, counter economic blockades are being imposed along Imphal-Ukhrul road, Yairipok and Tidim Road.
On the other hand, Imphal-Dimapur highway today witnessed retaliation of counter economic blockade at various locations along the same road confiscating goods transported in passenger and private vehicles. The retaliation reportedly took place early this morning when counter blockade supporters along the highway in Pheidinga allegedly confiscated even medical related goods and other commodities from Imphal-Kanggui and Imphal – Senapati bound passenger buses.
Many youth in retaliation of the counter blockade were seen checking vehicles near IT Road in Kangpokpi and Gamgiphai along the highway while goods found in the vehicles were pulled down.
Similar retaliation was also reported in Senapati DHQs.
Speaking to media persons, one volunteer engaged in the retaliation of the counter blockade lamented that many passengers of Kanggui buses on reaching Kangpokpi have reported undesirable manners of the counter blockade volunteers while confiscating even personal goods and commodities.
He continued that the retaliation will continue as far as the counter blockades were not called off.
A reliable source informed that Thadou bodies held an emergency meeting this afternoon at Motbung in connection with the counter blockade and expected to come with severe action from tomorrow.

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