Manipur burns again; New Delhi looks other way: Experts

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Guwahati, December 19
The trouble-torn Manipur is burning again and this time with hilly and plain tribes of the formerly princely state in deadliest confrontation for land domination, with the Centre turning blind eye to the issue as the situation is threatening to go out of control. In last two days, more than 22 cars, buses and other vehicles were torched in various parts of Manipur and large scale violence were reported from different areas leading to authorities to impose curfew in many areas of the state. Even the recent killing of four Manipur police constables in a militant ambush in Moreh, a border town in the state, is also linked to the skirmishes between the two tribes. The internet connectivity has also been suspended to stop spread of rumor among public. Experts opine that the situation came to such a pass due to the inept handling of the issue by New Delhi which has for long overlooked the brewing tension between Naga hilly tribes and plain Meiteis. The economic blockade imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) on National Highway 39 for more than 45 days has crippled the day to day life in Manipur as the supply of essential commodities like Petrol, medicines has nearly dried up. A liter of petrol in black market in Imphal is priced at Rs 250 per litre. The UNC is opposing the Manipur government’s move to carve out new districts from the Naga dominated areas in the state. “Central government is pampering the United Naga Council, which is the frontal organization of the militant outfit NSCM IM, the situation is getting worse day by day. The centre is a silent spectator to the indefinite economic blockade imposed against Manipur since November 1,” Mr A Rajan, an activist, said.
Ms Sayani, a housewife from Imphal, said: “No consumer item is available in the market. Baby foods, life saving medicines, chicken, fish, eggs had vanished. We are resorting to counter blockade against some tribal areas since they should also suffer like us.” The more than month long blockade also had its share of violence when suspected UNC supporters torched many goods-laden truck headed for Imphal on the outskirts of Manipur. “The Manipur government’s move of carving out newer districts in Naga dominated area is a ploy to snatch away land rightfully owned by Nagas,” a UNC member said. “The Naga indigenous people in Manipur want an alternative arrangement. We want to be treated as a separate entity and want a separate administration,” he said.

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