The economic blockade of Mizoram by shutting down vehicular movement on National Highways 54 and 154 was called off on Monday evening, less than 14 hours after it began, with the Barak Valley groups that organised it demanding government officials of Assam and Mizoram meet to sort out the issues which led to it.
The blockade of NH 54 at Lailapur in Cachar district was called off at 5.30 pm. It had been attended by more than a hundred people who sat on a dharna on the highway, and included several local politicians who delivered speeches. The blockade of NH 154 at Jamuri in Hailakandi district was also called off at 7 pm, police officials said.
No violence broke out at either location and there was reportedly not much of a queue of vehicles on either side of the blockades because information about the blockades had been circulated earlier, they added.
Several groups had organised the blockade along Mizoram’s two main lifelines to protest against the Mizo Zirlai Pawl (MZP or Mizo Student’s Association) shutting shops of traders operating in Aizawl without proper permits. More than 30 such shops had been shut by the association in recent weeks.
While the groups that enforced the blockade said the MZP should stop being the vigilante and authorities should be the ones enforcing the rules, the MZP stood by its actions and condemned those who blockaded the highways for “standing up for people who break the law”.
The Inner Line Permit system in force in Mizoram requires that any non-local must get prior permission from the authorities to enter, stay or work within the state. The ILP is in force in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh as well.