Imphal, November 28
The lawyers of Manipur staged a protest march here today against the indefinite blockade launched by the United Naga Council (UNC) which entered the 29th day today. The lawyers carried placards which read “blockade is illegal’, stop economic blockade” etc.
The protest was done in a peaceful manner starting at the Cheirap court and passing through the main streets of Imphal. The UNC has, meanwhile, intensified the stir and showed no sign of withdrawing the blockade.
The Manipur police personnel on November 24 arrested president of UNC Gaidon Kamei from Phiedinga, Imphal West along with UNC Secretary Information Thomas.
Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh has ruled out possibility of releasing the two persons. He said police will work on the matter. The UNC had been charged of burning vehicles, attacking people and carrying out arson on the national highway. The Manipur High Court and the Supreme Court had directed the Centre and the state government to make the highway free from any sort of crime and enable people to travel freely.
Some trucks carrying oil and essential commodities were brought in using Imphal-Jiribam highway and rationed in some oil depots.
The oil depots witnessed long queue. Many people were waiting since the last night to get petrol. Transport services remained suspended due to inability of petrol and diesel. The Central government had been requested to take action against the NSCN(IM) and UNC for calling the blockade. As the NSCN(IM) had signed a framework with the government, the state government was reluctant to take action against NSCN (IM) and its frontal organisations, including UNC, however, the Manipur Police was compelled to take action considering the hardships of the people and the crimes committed on the highway. The Manipur Police had to release all NSCN(IM) cadres and supporters who were arrested with arms and while doing illegal activities in the state on the intervention of the Centre earlier.
The Manipur government was asked by the people to upgrade two sub-divisions to full district status for administrative conveniences and the UNC has opposed any move to upgrade the two subdivisions. The chief minister clarified that there is no question of granting district status on ethnic lines. The stock of life saving oxygen, medicines in the hospitals was low and coming of medicines have also stopped.
Liquid based medicines meant for children were running out of stock.
Streets remained deserted as there is shortage of oil.
Prices of essential commodities have reached sky high. There is shortage of medicines, food and essential commodities.
Petrol is now sold at Rs 300 per litre and price of LPG has reached Rs 2500 in black market.
Imphal, November 28