R.N. Ravi, the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), has described the ongoing economic blockade of Manipur by the United Naga Council (UNC) as an unfortunate and unacceptable development that has done nothing but caused immense suffering to the people of Manipur.
In an interview to ANI, Ravi said, “What is happening there (Manipur) is very unfortunate. So, now what is happening unfortunately for the last about over three months now, very unfortunate . Now, I don’t approve of that and this is not acceptable, and it has cost a lot of suffering to the people of Manipur, valley people as well as the hill people, and this is going to have serious consequences.”
Responding to another query with regard to a perception that the level of violence during the ongoing blockade has not come down despite the revelation of a framework agreement between the government and the NSCN-IM coming to some sort of solution, the chairman of the JIC said, “Actually, that I would not agree . but after the ceasefire, the two sides, the Government of India and the NSCN-IM, there has been a sharp decline in violence. So, that is borne out by records on the ground situation.”
Since 1 November 2016, Manipur is facing an economic blockade spearheaded by the United Naga Council (UNC).
The UNC has been of the view that the areas of Tamenglong, Senapati, Ukhrul and Chandel in Manipur are Naga-majority hill districts, and is opposed to the creation of seven new districts in state.
In protest, it announced an economic blockade of Manipur on grounds that the new districts encroach on the ancestral land of the Nagas and all it has done is to weaken their vote in upcoming state assembly elections.
The UNC has blocked National Highway 2 and 37 and stopped all trucks from carrying supplies into Imphal. It has also blocked the Trans-Asian Highway.
The blockade has resulted in inflation in prices and shortages of food, fuel, medicines, gas and other essential supplies. Mobile internet has been suspended.
The police presence has been increased and 4000 personnel of central paramilitary forces have been deployed by the Government of India.
Incidents of assault of members of Naga and Meitei tribes in their minority areas have also been reported. Policemen have also been assaulted at some places and some government offices have also been burnt down.
Source: Business Standard