Naga Council picketing paralyses Manipur offices

Imphal, Jan 3 (IANS) The United Naga Council (UNC) has intensified picketing at the government offices in the hill districts dominated by the Nagas demanding unconditional release of two arrested leaders.

But Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said: “First the UNC must call off the economic blockade. We will consider holding talks with it and setting free the arrested leaders after that.”

All the government offices are completely paralysed as no employee is allowed to enter. However, essential services like power, water supply and educational institutions have allowed to function normally.

Some employees said that there is no security arrangement in and around the offices.

“Under these circumstances, we cannot stick out our necks. Volunteers of the UNC are squatting at all approach roads to prevent us from entering the office premises,” one of them said.

There is not enough police and paramilitary forces in the hill districts.

An official said: “The additional paramilitary personnel rushed by the central government are used in escorting the trucks and maintaining law and order along the highways.”

Some time back, the government had deployed police commandos in Ukhrul district. But people made a hue and cry about it, following which these commandos had to be recalled from the district.