After 139 days, Naga Council lifts economic blockade on Manipur

The meeting was chaired by the Joint Secretary (North East) of the Union Home Ministry. The BJP’s assurance was that the lifting of the blockade would be the first thing a government led by the party

Written by Esha Roy | Kolkata | Updated: March 20, 2017 9:44 am
A truck driver waits in queue on the highway for the blockade to be lifted on Sunday midnight. (Express/ Oinam Anand)

The United Naga Council (UNC), which had imposed an economic blockade on Manipur to protest the formation of seven new districts, on Sunday said it will lift the restriction from March 19 midnight. The blockade, on for 139 days, had prevented the entry of essential goods from reaching the Imphal valley.

The UNC’s decision, which was a key election plank of the BJP, was announced after tripartite talks between the central government, the Manipur government and the UNC on Sunday in Senapati district of Manipur. The meeting was chaired by the Joint Secretary (North East) of the Union Home Ministry. The BJP’s assurance was that the lifting of the blockade would be the first thing a government led by the party would deliver to the people of Manipur.

On Sunday, a statement issued by the UNC, released four days after Chief Minister N Biren Singh of the BJP took oath, said: “To create a conducive environment for the democratic process of consultation and dialogue, the United Naga Council will lift the economic blockade from tonight.” The UNC statement said that its grievances, which led to the imposition of the blockade, were recognised by the Centre as “non-adherence to the four MoUs” signed between the central government and the UNC before.

“The government of Manipur agrees to start consultation with all stakeholders to address the issues,” said the statement, adding that the state government had agreed to release the UNC leaders arrested last December, including its president G Kamei. The blockade was imposed by the UNC on November 1 soon after former Congress Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh declared the formation of two new districts — Jiribam and Kanpokpi.

The proposed Kanpokpi district formation was in response to a longstanding Kuki tribal demand for a Sadar Hills district. It was renamed Kanpokpi. A week after the UNC announced the blockade, cutting off the entry of essential goods to the Imphal valley, on November 8, Ibobi announced the formation of five more new districts.

Forty-two days into the blockade, the people of the Imphal valley and its civil organisations imposed a counter-economic blockade, preventing goods and people from moving from Imphal to the Hill districts, in particular to the two Naga-dominated ones — Senapati and Ukhrul. The protests turned violent around Christmas when 22 vehicles, carrying Naga tribals back to their villages, were burnt and a Church attacked in Imphal. The next tripartite talks will be held in a month’s time, officials said.

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  1. I
    IML sood
    Mar 20, 2017 at 1:28 am
    Why this joker does have worry about his own bums?
    1. T
      Mar 20, 2017 at 5:47 am
      Yup ...We have seen most of the bakths abusing Christians and Muslims and boast out for Hindu rashtra ..When the matter of power came BJP .promised their website ideology and gone in front of those Manipur Christians for "pair choona " such a double standard team . ...any ways Central government could have removed the blockade since they are the one who handle border security .but they put those people in trouble for 139/power to achieve the win .. ... And proved that there is nothing wrong being anti national for 139/days
      1. I
        Mar 20, 2017 at 9:05 am
        Just consider the bellyache of the saffron clowns if it was the Congress that concluded this deal. The buggers would be full of sh*t about how Bharat Mata was sold out to Christians. But when Modiji the super patriot does this its all in the interest of the country. The BJP knows that the peripheral states have minorities that are not going to take things lying down but when Congress tries to find common ground the same BJP buggers accuse it of selling out.
        1. I
          Mar 19, 2017 at 11:04 pm
          Hope the Naga bums happy with their 30 pieces of silver.
          1. I
            Mar 20, 2017 at 1:54 am
            Nagas are supposed to be Christians, but when they make backdoor deals with BJP suddenly they are all patriots no longer beholden to 'foreign religions' or 'powers' or Italian waitresses.
            1. M
              Mar 20, 2017 at 7:53 am
              looks like bjp/rss created the blockade in the first place to confuse the people of manipur !!!! bjp/rss will stoop to the lowest for power. the people of manipur and goa did not give them the right to rule they states, bjp stole them.
              1. R
                Mar 20, 2017 at 8:46 am
                oh yes Nagas are supposed to be Christian cause jesus was born in naga tribe....the nagas now have understood the true motive of Christian crook missionaries and soon there will be a m movement for back to tribal religion.
                1. A
                  Mar 20, 2017 at 4:24 am
                  THE CROOKS WILL WIN
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