United Committee Manipur asks Nagas to end blockade in 72 hours

Imphal Dec 4 (IANS) The United Committee Manipur (UCM) has served a 72-hour ultimatum beginning from Sunday midnight on the United Naga Council (UNC) to end its indefinite economic blockade on National Higways No.2 and No.53.

UCM President Johnson Elangbam said, “If the blockade is not called off within the deadline, we shall launch various forms of agitations with the cooperation of the people. UCM is for the unity of all sections of the people in Manipur and on this understanding we call for hammering out an agreement.”

The UNC is instead demanding the unconditional release of its President Gaidon Kamei and Publicity Secretary Stephen Lamkang.

The UNC enforced a blockade on the two crucial national highways on November 1 to protest the Okram Ibobi Singh government’s move to upgrade Sadar Hills and Jiribam regions to full-fledged districts, allegedly without consulting the Nagas who inhabit the areas.

The UCM was set up with an aim to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur after the June 18, 2001, mayhem.

On June 18, 2001, in the aftermath of extension of ceasefire “beyond territorial limits” between the Centre and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (I-M), Manipur people strongly opposed the move and took to the streets. Security forces resorted to firing, in which 18 persons were killed.

–IANS

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