48 hours deadline set by the UNC to release its president Gaidon Kamei and information secretary Stephen Sangkhui. A Senapati Court on the other hand has remanded them to police custody for a period of 14 days. The coming days will be anything but uneventful. It is also interesting to see Chief Minister O Ibobi talking tough in asserting that due legal processes will be initiated against the arrested UNC leaders. Perhaps the recent ruling of the Manipur High Court to use all possible measures to ensure that goods reach the people gave the needed boost to the confidence of the Chief Minister. Difficult to say how things will unfold, but it is more than clear that the UNC is not ready to back off. The 48 hours ultimatum given to the Government to free Gaidon Kamei and Stephen Sangkhui should underline this point. On record the economic blockade is against any design of the State Government to declare Sadar Hills and Jiribam as full fledged districts, but in reality, it is the people who have been hit the hardest. However the UNC has refused to acknowledge the suffering of the people and making things worse is the fact that the blockade seems to be targeted against a particular set of people. This is what is unacceptable. A look at the price index of essential commodities at all the district headquarters should underline the point that is sought to be made here. It is here that the blockade gets uglier and UNC is indeed toying with a dangerous agenda or maybe this is what some elements want.
In stating that due legal process would be initiated against the two arrested UNC functionaries, the Chief Minister was also sending out the unmistakable message that such legal process can be initiated against the other UNC functionaries. This is something which should have been initiated a long time back. This is not the time to treat the matter with kid’s gloves. On the other hand, the need for a second lifeline has long been felt and one wonders why not much has been done to make the Imphal-Jiribam highway more motorable. It was not for nothing why the then Governor Dr SS Sidhu took a road trip to get a first hand account of the state of the highway many, many years back. The Chief Minister and his men have repeatedly stressed on the need to maintain this stretch of the highway, but till date no one has heard of any Minister taking a road trip along this stretch to get a first hand account of the highway. If former Governor Sidhu could do it, what is stopping the present set of Ministers from taking a road trip along this highway ? In Najma Heptulla the State has a woman Governor, but perhaps she may focus on this highway and submit a first hand report to the Centre on how the BRTF has been failing to meet the requirements of the day. At the moment, the stand off continues and people in Imphal and other valley districts have to stand in long queues to get their daily requirements. This obviously will not register in the minds of the UNC and this is all the more reason why Manipur needs a second lifeline.
Source: The Sangai Express