Manipur is not new to the politics of blockade. If politics is considered a dirty calling by quite a large number of people, nothing can be dirtier and more dangerous than this brand of politics. Manipur has seen enough blockade to understand how dangerous it can be. The present economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council is not an exception and the seeds of divide that this has spawned can be understood in the context of how this has given birth to what is called the counter blockade and how it has gone from targeting goods laden trucks on the National Highways to personal belongings of passengers, best exemplified by what happened on the Imphal-Ukhrul road at Khurai on December 18 and the destruction spree at Khumbong. Something which all those who stand against the idea of Manipur as a social and political entity may want and this is something which no one should forget. The politics that is being played out has now moved from the National Highways with the State Government and the Union Government seemingly at logger heads with one another, a point which is best exemplified by the strongly worded letter written by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to Chief Minister O Ibobi a few days back. Law and order is a State subject and it is the duty of the State Government to ensure that the basic amenities reach the people of Manipur, is the line that has been maintained by the Centre. The Union Home Minister topped this off with the claim that the Centre has made available enough Central forces to assist the local forces to keep NH-2 open.
On the other hand, the State Government has been maintaining that the UNC is a front of the NSCN (IM) and the Centre is in direct touch with the Naga outfit. It is the duty of New Delhi to tell the NSCN (IM) to back off and get the blockade lifted. Moreover National Highways come under the Union list, is the line maintained by the State Government. From here one can infer that the politics of blockade has moved on from the National Highways to a political tug of war between the State Congress Government and the BJP led Government at the Centre and caught in between are the people. Tough to say whether the use of force to open the National Highways is advisable or not, for such a proposal has the potential to make the situation worse and with the UNC still sticking to its guns and continuing with the blockade, it is only right that people keep their sanity and not resort to any destructive spree which can pitch the people against each other and make the situation more murky, for ultimately the loser will be Manipur. It would be also beneficial for the UNC and others to acknowledge the point that at stake too is the peace process between the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India, a point made clear by a statement issued by the outfit on December 28.
The Sangai Express Editorial