Manipur is cut off again. NH 39 and NH 53, the two lifelines of Manipur, have been blocked for 3 months now! It started on started on 31st July, 2011, which is the longest blockade in the state’s history. Due to lack of resources, prices of food and other essential commodities have gone upto ten times their actual cost. There is an acute shortage of medical amenities there.
In the past few years, Manipur has undergone a saga of blockades. In 2005, the All Naga Students’ Association had staged an economic blockade against the decision of the State to declare June 18 as ‘Integrity Day’. The blockade had lasted for 52 days. Again, last year, another economic blockade was called by the Naga bodies against the government’s decision to prevent the entry of NSCN(IM) general secretary Th Muivah into Manipur. The blockade broke the previous record by 16 days. It lasted for 68 days. This time, the blockade is already closing it’s third month. What is even more shameful is that the national media is silent about it.
The blockade is organized by SHDCC (Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee). They are demanding creation of Sadar Hills district while the UNC (United Naga Council) is opposing the demand. UNC has also called for counter blockade of NH 150. The estimated loss of the blockade is almost Rs. 250 crores. So far, no parties have come for negotiations to end the blockade though it has created immense hardships to the people.
It is high time the media covers this story in the right kind of a manner. It is high time, the Government intervenes and in these petty political stand-offs and makes lives better for the common man who suffers unnecessarily. And most importantly, it is high time, we, the people of India start taking issues related to North East more seriously! I am yet to see a mainstream film which is set in Manipur, or any north eastern state for that matter. Remember. North East is not to India what Tibet is to China. If our indifference continues, their hostility will continue to grow.