The Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has instructed Governor Vinod Kumar Duggal, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh and Home Minister Gaikhangam Gangmei to take up firm and effective steps to counteract the indefinite economic blockade called by the United Naga Council (UNC) against Manipur from Thursday morning.
This is in protest against the gunning down of two tribals in Ukhrul district on August 29 while dispersing a procession. 20 others were sustained injuries. After from blocking the movement of vehicles, the Nagas shall obstruct all national projects like the constructions of the rail lines, hydroelectric projects and installation of high tension transmission lines.
Briefing reporters on Wednesday shortly after the arrival of Mr. Duggal, Mr. Singh and Mr. Gangmei in Imphal from Delhi, Okendra Moirangthem, the government spokesperson said that the Union Home Minister was briefed on the happenings in the district leading to the killings of two persons. After listening to the verbal report, the Union Home Minister had instructed them to protect life and property of the people. He promised all assistances from the union government in ensuring uninterrupted supply of fuel, consumer items and others. They were also directed to beef up security measures so that construction works of the national projects are not disturbed.
Minister Moirangthem said that armed paramilitary personnel will escort the trucks and buses along the two national highways which are the lifelines of this landlocked mountain state to ensure that all sorts of commodities arrive at Imphal.
Following the gunning down of Ngarlarzar Malue, a member of the autonomous district council of Ukhrul district on July 12 allegedly by the NSCN(IM) cadres, the district has been under siege with the arrival of police and paramilitary forces. Prohibitory orders were also clamped. There have been demands to withdraw the additional forces and lift the prohibitory orders.
On August 29, the UNC organised a procession to demand the withdrawal of the state forces and lifting the prohibitory orders. Police intervened and during the clashes two persons were killed and 20 others were wounded. The government had offered Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the dead persons and said that it would foot the medical bills for the injured ones. However the UNC sponsored meeting said that the ex-gratia would be spurned.
In the past, the Manipur government could not ensure unfettered transportation of goods to the state since there was no back up from the centre. Now that the Union Home Minister has assured all assistances, the state government may ensure uninterrupted supply. Fuel is in short supply and the government is rationing it from Wednesday.