Imphal, Aug 9 : Manipur braces itself for a long disruption of normal life with the United Naga Council (UNC), calling a 48-hour general strike with effect from August 11 midnight and the Kuki Statehood Demand Committee calling a 72-hour general strike shortly after the end of the UNC strike
This could paralyze normal life in the entire State since the vehicular movement along the two highways will also be affected. The two highways and some state highways pass through Naga villages.
United Naga Council strike
United Naga Council, the apex body of the Naga tribes in Manipur, said that the strike is in furtherance of the demand for an alternative arrangement for the Nagas. For many years, UNC leaders have been saying that the Nagas no longer want to stay under the "communal Manipur government".
There have been five rounds of tripartite talks between the state governments and the UNC. However nothing concrete has emerged so far.
The UNC leaders served an ultimatum to the union government on July 15, 2013 in protest against stonewalling attitude of the government. It said that the sixth round of talks should be held immediately.
UNC further said that all central projects in Manipur should be suspended until a decision regarding this is taken, which includes the construction of the rail lines in Manipur. Moreover, the Nagas will not approve erection of the border fence since this will only divide the Naga villages.
It also said that the Nagas shall not participate in the Independence Day celebrations in protest against delaying tactics of the government.
Kuki Statehood Demand Committee strike
The announcement made by KSDC on Wednesday said that the general strike is in furtherance of the demand for a separate state for the Kukis and will begin from midnight of August 13.
The Kukis are found along the highways and most of the districts in the valley in addition to the five hill districts.
A government spokesperson told The Hindu that the Union government has already made it clear that the alternative arrangement demanded by United Naga Council is impracticable. Besides, a new state for the Kuki tribal cannot be carved out of Manipur which is much smaller than any district of Assam or West Bengal. The Naga organisations have also been saying that the proposed Kuki state cannot include any Naga area.
Security measures have been beefed up to maintain law and order during the two sets of general strikes.