Strikes halts normal life in Manipur

Imphal, Dec 17 (IANS) The women vendors in Manipur’s capital here and women activists in Moreh imposed a 24-hour general strike from Friday night in protest against the economic blockade and ambushes by the tribal militants which killed three policemen and injured 14 others.

The general strikes brought the legalised border trade at Moreh and general life in Imphal to a grinding halt, leaving several traders and tourists stranded, while all educational institutes, banks and financial institutes were closed down.

Women armed with bamboo staffs are positioned at all crossings to intercept all vehicles. However, media persons and those in the essential services are exempted. All markets and shops are closed for the day.

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh said: “So far, the central government has not reined in the NSCN(IM) and there is growing suspicion among the people whether they are hand in glove.”

Pishakmacha, a woman vendor said: “It is a plain fact that the NSCN(IM) is behind the ambushes and yet the central forces are mute spectators. We demand eviction of the NSCN(IM) from Manipur and recall of the central forces. As a result of the divide-rule policy, there is growing tension among the tribal and non-tribal vendors in the Imphal city.”

Police beefed up security measures to maintain law and order.