Imphal: Manipur's longest economic blockade , which started on November 1 last year, will come to an end on Sunday midnight, four days after the state's first BJP-led government assumed office.
The United Naga Council (UNC), the apex body of Nagas in the state, decided to call off the 139-day-long blockade of the state's two national highways, after talks with representatives from the state and Center earlier in the day.
The resolution for lifting the blockade was taken following an agreement in an tripartite talk, involving two UNC constituents- All Naga Student's Association Manipur (ANSAM) and Naga Women Union (NWC) – and representatives of the central and Manipur governments, UNC General Secretary S. Milan said.
Satendra Garg, Ministry of Home Affair – North East in-charge represented the Government of India at the tripartite meeting, while Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Suresh Babu and Works Commissioner K. Radhakumar represented the Stat Government.
Today all UNC leaders along with their president Gaidon Kamei were present, who took part in the previous round of tripartite meeting held in Delhi. Three other former president's were also present in the team, the president of the All Naga Students' Association Manipur (ANSAM) and the president of the Naga Women Union (NWU).
Governor Najma Heptullah of Manipal later expressed her happiness at the development. "The new development will usher in an era of peace and prosperity," the Governor said appreciating the "first step of the newly-formed government". She said understanding among all communities was of utmost importance to bring about all round development.
Now that the resolution has been passed , UNC President Gaidon Kamei and Publicity Secretary S. Stephen, now in judicial custody, are likely to be released soon. Besides, all cases relating to the blockade will be closed, as per the agreement.
In the initial months of the blockade ,several trucks were torched , drivers attacked and three security personnel killed and over a dozen injured in attacks allegedly by cadres of the extremist National Social Council of Nagaland ."Talks shall continue at the political level," Milan said quoting from the agreement.
Following the economic blockade in Manipur , the UNC had blocked the NH 2 and 37 since November 1, by the UNC in protest against the creation of Sader Hills and Jiribam into full fledged districts by the state's earstehie Congress government. Last year the then Okram Singh-led Congress government's decision to creation of seven new districts by the then Congress government in October, 2016. UNC who were arrested for their alleged roles in violence during the blockade, and closed all the cases against Naga leaders.
The Nagas maintain that the "lands of Nagas" left by their forefathers cannot be taken away in this manner. However, the indefinite blockade has largely led to cute shortage of all essential commodities, including fuel in the state. Hardly 300 trucks and oil tankers could lift essential left commodities twice a week, which proved to be the proverbial drop in the ocean. Apart from imposing economic blockade, the UNC has also banned National projects in Naga-dominated areas and demanded revocation of the order issued by the previous state government.
The tripartite talks were first held on February 7 in Imphal for ending the blockade on two national highways NH2 and 37 , but had failed to carved out. The stake holders had earlier met in Delhi on February 4 and the Center had expressed hope that the blockade would end soon. The joint statement said that the next tripartite talks would be held within a month at political level.