Sinlung /
12 September 2014

A Tale of Two Strikes: Manipur in Freeze Frame

By Alok Pandey

A Tale of Two Strikes: Manipur in Freeze Frame

Strike shuts down Manipur capital Imphal

Imphal:  Two parallel strikes have shut down the northeastern state of Manipur.

Various student groups have launched a protest to push for their demand that all from outside the state be allowed entry only with permits. All schools and colleges have been shut indefinitely as the protesters are mostly students and the government fears violence.

The state has been virtually crippled by a highway blockade called by the United Naga Council after the recent death of two Naga activists. Fuel is in short supply and over 300 trucks are stranded on both the highways that lead to state capital Imphal.

The Naga council has decided to end the blockade today, as the state is confronting another emerging crisis.

In the last two days, a dozen people, including students, have been detained by the Manipur police after clashes. On Tuesday, the police had to step in when one group allegedly assaulted a non-Manipuri when he could not produce identification papers that they demanded. The group allegedly also turned on those who tried to stop them, including a young man who is now in hospital.

The groups called a strike yesterday demanding the suspension of the police officer who detained students.

The protesters want "Inner Line Permit Restrictions" across the state to prevent what they believe is a large inrush of outsiders. This means that they want "non-locals" - both Indians and foreigners - to be allowed into Manipur only with a state permit.

The rule is in place in Mizoram, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Last year, there was an agitation in Meghalaya for it.

In Manipur, groups have been demanding it for over a year now, and their protests have often turned violent.

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