To end the logjam that has crippled normal life in Manipur, the Union Home Ministry will hold tripartite talks with the United Naga Council (UNC) and the state government on February 5. The ongoing economic blockade called by UNC on the two national highways has led to a shortage of essential commodities in the state that is witnessing violent protests.
With Manipur going to polls on March 4, the security establishment has expressed grave concerns regarding movement of political bigwigs, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who will be touring the state in coming days to campaign for elections.
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The economic blockade was called by UNC in November last year against the state government’s decision to create seven new districts. The home ministry has declared the blockade illegal and deployed nearly 17,500 paramilitary personnel, but normalcy in the area is yet to be restored.
The state government, on its part, has put the blame on the Centre since UNC enjoys the patronage of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), with which the government of India signed a framework agreement in 2015.
When contacted, a senior Manipur government official said, “We will send our representatives for the talks.”
It may be recalled that the state government failed to make any representation in November last year when the first tripartite talks with the Manipur government and UNC were proposed to be held at New Delhi.
Last month, Home minister Rajnath Singh sent a tough message to Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh, saying that if the state government failed in discharging its constitutional duties, the Centre “may have to explore other measures under the provisions of Constitution of India to ensure that difficulties of people of Manipur are alleviated”.