IMPHAL, Nov 25: In the wake of the 25 days old economic blockade, United Naga Council president Gaidon Kamei was arrested from Pheidinga, Imphal West along with UNC information and publicity secretary Sankhui Stephen at around 11.15 am today. One mobile phone each were seized from their possession.
Gaidon Kamei and Stephen were travelling in a Bolero jeep (NL-07C/1642) when they were halted at Pheidinga and arrested by a police team. Gaidon Kamei (52) s/o late Landou of Noney Part-I, Tamenlong district is presently staying at Namdulong, Imphal. Sankhui Stephen (36) s/o late Thamnok hails from Komsen village, Chandel district. They have been staying at Khunkho village near Leimakhong since a few days back, informed a police source.
It is said that an FIR may be registered against them for imposing the ongoing economic blockade and also for different cases of arson committed in the course of the blockade. The State Government has been under immense pressure from a sizeable section of population who have been demanding creation of Sadar Hills and Jiribam districts but the UNC has opposed any move to upgrade the two sub-divisions. Chief Minister O Ibobi clarified that there is no question of granting district status on ethnic lines.
The Supreme Court had earlier directed the Central Government not to allow any form of blockade on the highways, Ibobi reminded during a press conference a couple of days back.
According to a spokesman of the information and publicity unit of UNC, Naga frontal organisations have taken strong exception against the arrest of Gaidon Kamei and Sankhui Stephen and have decided to impose a 24 hour total shut down in all Naga inhabited areas from 4 pm today.
The shut down however will be relaxed for the media, essential service, health, water supply, schools etc. The Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) has also decided to fully support the 24 hours total bandh. As news of the arrest of the UNC leader spread, the TNL immediately discussed the matter and decided to support the bandh in all Naga inhabited areas of Manipur in protest against the State Government. The bandh came into force from 4 pm today.
Strongly condemning the arrest of Gaidon Kamei, the TNL demanded his immediate release without any condition to avert any ugly fall outs. Schools having exams, medical, water supply, electricity and milkmen would be exempted from the purview of the bandh. On the other hand, the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) has urged the State Government to adopt a political decision and release United Naga Council (UNC) president Gaidon Kamei and information and publicity secretary Stephen Lamkang without any condition at the earliest.
Speaking to media persons at Dewlahland this afternoon, ANSAM president Seth Satsang said that the arrest of the two UNC leaders would have far reaching ramifications if they are not released at the earliest without any condition. With regard to the issue of creating new district(s) in Manipur, an MoU was signed between Naga civil organisations and the Government of Manipur when Rishang Keishing was the Chief Minister, Seth Satsang said. In spite of this MoU, the incumbent Government has been working to resolve the issue of creating new district(s) allegedly on communal line.
It is ANSAM’s demand that the State Government should uphold the MoU, he said. As per the MoU, all stake holders should be consulted before creating a new district. Questioning the modality under which Sadar Hills district can be created, Seth Satsang admitted that the ongoing economic blockade has been causing untold misery to all sections of people. “Yet, we would employ any means to safeguard our ancestral land and the ongoing economic blockade would be further tightened”, he said.
The existing issue is a political issue and this fact is well known to the State Government but the arrest of the two UNC leaders smacked of an intention to subdue the issue with military force, he alleged. The Government of Manipur assured the Government of India in 2011 that all stake holders would be consulted in the event of creating a new district in Manipur and the same assurance was conveyed to Naga leaders by the Central Government.
As such, ANSAM would raise the issue with the Central Government so that New Delhi intervenes into the issue immediately, he added.
Source: Sangai Express