Letter to the Honorable Prime Minister of India on UNC’s Economic Blockade

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To
Shree Narendra Modi Jee
Honorable Prime Minister of India
South Block, Raisina Hill, New Delhi-110011

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
In the spirit of solidarity with people of Manipur and as a citizen of India, I would like to voice my concern about plight of the People in the context of Manipur due to inhumane and unlawful Economic Blockade imposed by United Naga Council (UNC), Manipur in two highways of Manipur disconnecting Manipur to the rest of India.

UNC had imposed Indefinite Economic Blockade since 1 November 2016 in two National Highways, NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH 37 (Imphal-Jiribam) and banned the construction of Trans-Asian Railways and other National Projects in all the Manipur. Due to the ongoing economic blockade by UNC, an acute shortage of essential commodities, lifesaving drugs, food scarcity, etc are now facing in Manipur.

In both the National Highways, Economic blockade supporters have vandalized and burnt down many loaded trucks heading for Imphal, including rice laden trucks, tankers etc. The Passengers Buses coming from Shillong and Assam for Imphal were stoned, harassed and sent back to Assam by Blockade supporters. The situation is now becoming from bad to worse.

Medical Stores in Manipur are facing acute shortage of medicine and life-saving drugs. All Oil pumps have gone dry. Due to scarcity of the fuel, most of the Schools and Colleges / Institutions have to close down. The price of fuels, LPG cylinder etc soaring high in black market, touching Rs 3,000 per cylinder, Rs 300 per liter of petrol. In addition to this, the prices of food items have also almost triple, compounding the miseries of the people in the midst of demonetization.

The blockade supporter has been violent throughout the blockade period till date. And unfortunately for a while, there were spurt of counter economic blockade expressing people’s anger. We are now witnessing the violent consequences of the blockade. Manipur Police personnel were attacked by armed groups suspected to be NSCN-IM at Noney which left three Manipur Police personnel dead and injuring 14 police personnel and also snatched several weapons from the IRB personnel’s. On December 18 last year, some vehicles were set ablaze along the Imphal-Ukhrul road protesting against the Blockade. And this was followed by burning down of passenger bus and a Tata Sumo at Taphou by Blockade supporter. On Jan 12 2017, one civilian of Chaengdai (Akhui) village of Noney district was killed during an ambush on a convoy of loaded trucks and oil tankers by suspected NSCM-IM militants at Lukhambi (Khumji) Part-II village under Noney police Station. Three civilians were also seriously injured. As of now, on both the National Highways, no passenger buses are plying.

On Nov 25 2016, a three-member Division Bench of the High Court of Manipur had passed an interim order directing the Manipur Government to deploy adequate strength of State as well as Central security forces to ensure unhindered movement of goods carriers on National Highways connecting Manipur with other parts of the country. The High Court order has been vindicated by the satements given by shri Satyendra Garg, Joint Secretary (North East), Ministry of Home Affairs. This was further supported by the statements of Shri Rajnathjee, Union Home Minister On Dec 22 2016 and On Dec 23 2016, the Union Minister Kiren Rijiju has stated that the blockade is inhumane and must not be accepted as a means of democratic protest. In addition to the statement by the Government of India’s representative, Various Civil Societies, Church Representatives, Students’ Unions, Ministers and Political Parties across the Country have appealed to UNC to withdraw the Blockade as the normal life of people of the state has been affected badly.

On November 15 last year, the proposal from Central Government about a tripartite talk with Government of Manipur and United Naga Council (UNC) at New Delhi to discuss the economic blockade had failed due to absence of formal invitation to Government of Manipur from the Government of India. This was stated by Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhangam on Dec 22 2016. Also stated that the State Government is always ready for dialogue but UNC refused. As of now, the blame game of the state and central is in full swing with no visible hope of lifting the blockade.

As the law of the Country is concerned, the Fundamental Rights given to the Citizens of India are not able to exercise because of the ongoing blockade by UNC. Now, the time has come to ask who United Naga Council (UNC) is and under whose command and interest, UNC works in Manipur. The people of Manipur are under confusion with the signing of the historic “Framework Agreement” on 3 August 2015 between the Government of India and an insurgency group, NSCN-IM. The contents of the framework agreement are kept hidden from public. If the Framework Agreement is against Manipur’s Territorial Integrity, it will be a great disappointment and unforgiving.

The ideological direction of the UNC ongoing Blockade is against the multi-ethnic, multi-cultural, multi-religious democracy. UNC’s stand is for a Mono cultural, pan Naga, theocratic and non-democratic political aspiration with no interest of the region.

I earnestly request you to kindly intervene in the best interest of India’s Democracy before it is too late. Otherwise Manipur may no longer be a part of India at least in the psychological domain.

Sincerely,
Chongtham Thangamba Meetei
Manipur House, Rajbari, Laitumkhrah
Shillong – 793003, Meghalaya

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