Manipur refuses to yield under Naga pressure
Imphal, Nov 26 (IANS) Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said on Saturday that law will take its own course while dealing with United Naga Council President Gaidon Kamei and Information Secretary S. Stephen, who were arrested by police on Friday.
“Legal process has already started regarding these two UNC leaders and there is no question of releasing them unconditionally,” Ibobi said.
The UNC on November 1 imposed an indefinite economic blockade to protest against the government’s move to create two new districts.
Ibobi said efforts were on to arrest the other absconding members of the UNC who have been charged with imposing the blockade.
The UNC and other Naga groups have called for a 24 hour “total shutdown” from Friday evening demanding the unconditional release of the two leaders.
Naga leaders said the protest against the proposed new districts of the Sadar Hills was a “political issue” and there was no justification regarding the arrest of the two UNC members.
On the other hand, Manipur has been reeling with the shortage of all items, including fuel, since November 1.
Petrol brought by a few tankers is rationed and a liter is sold at Rs 300 in the black market.
According to officials, charges are being framed against the two UNC leaders in the light of the Supreme Court’s directives regarding the blockades.
The Manipur High Court on Friday took a view of the blockade and directed the government to ensure the movement of vehicles along the two highways.
Ibobi said the condition of the NH 37 which skirts Nagaland, will be improved before the onset of the rainy season.
In the past, some Naga groups had also imposed blockades against Manipur making it impossible to transport anything along the NH 2 which passes through Nagaland.
Ibobi said: “On Friday nearly 400 trucks and oil tankers brought various items from Assam to Manipur, and the situation will soon be normalised.”
In accordance with the high court order, Chief Secretary Oinam Nabakishore and Director General of Police (DGP) L. M. Khoute have been making arrangements to ensure the movement of the vehicles.
Officials fear the UNC and the All Naga Students’ Association Manipur may intensify their agitation.
The police are making arrangements to escort the stranded trucks.