Continuing protests have affected life in Manipur, with essential goods vanishing from shop shelves and prices shooting up.
From Friday midnight, the Kuki Women’s Organisation imposed a 72-hour highway blockade. Lorries and buses could not ply on National Highway no. 37, a 222-km mountain stretch connecting Imphal with Assam.
From Monday, the Committee on the Protection of Tribal Areas, Manipur, is imposing a 72-hour blockade.
Government employees took mass leave on Friday and Saturday, demanding implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations. The government has not invited the leaders of the two employees’ organisations for talks.
Many high-demand items have vanished from the market. Prices of fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and eggs have shot up. Transporters find it impossible to bring rice, sugar and other PDS items. But the government has not moved. Police and paramilitary forces are not being deployed in vulnerable areas. Neither are they escorting lorries and buses.
The Kuki Women’s Organisation has been demanding protection of tribal land. The tribal people fear that the State government will include tribal lands in a district proposed to be formed by upgrading the Jiribam subdivision of Imphal east district.
In the past, the Jiribam district-hood demand committee had clarified that the proposed district shall not include any tribal land. Similar demands are made by Nagas whenever the demand for a separate district for Kukis gains momentum. Since the villages of all communities are located side by side, creating a new district after excluding some is not possible.