UNC decides against lifting blockade in Manipur

A decision towards this effect was taken at the presidential council meeting of the UNC held on Tuesday.

Published: 07th February 2017 04:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th February 2017 04:36 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Contrary to speculations, the United Naga Council (UNC), which is the apex social organisation of the Nagas in Manipur, will continue its ongoing “economic blockade” enforced on the two national highways—the lifelines of the state—since November 1.
 
A decision towards this effect was taken at the presidential council meeting of the UNC held on Tuesday.
 
“Of the 60 Naga tribes (in Manipur), 40 consented in favour of the continuance of the blockade. Their decision against the lifting of blockade was due to the Government of India’s failure to address the core issue in respect of the political position vis-à-vis the creation of the seven districts,” UNC general secretary Milan Shimray told Express.
 
“Not only the blockade, our ban on the construction of trans-Asian railway project and other national projects in Naga areas and picketing of government offices will also continue,” he asserted.
 
Last week, the Centre had met the UNC leaders and the Manipur government representatives at a tripartite meeting in Delhi. Speculations were rife the UNC would lift the blockade in exchange of the release of its arrested president
Gaidon Kamei and publicity secretary SK Stephen. Both were arrested for spearheading the blockade.
 
A source in the Manipur chief minister’s office was surprised that UNC decided against lifting the blockade. “I’m surprised because we all thought they would lift it,” the source said.
 
Following UNC’s decision, Manipur will go to the polls under the shadow of the blockade. The two-phase elections will be held on March 4 and March 8.

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