An indefinite general strike was imposed from Tuesday midnight by the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC), following the running over of three women including a college girl by a speeding oil tanker, which was escaping from the stone-pelting supporters of the week-long economic blockade.

Several women were blocking the two national highways that pass through Sadar Hills when the tragedy took place. The blockade was to press the demand for a separate district.

Police said the oil tanker was stoned by the blockade supporters and the driver tried to speed away. He lost control and ploughed through some women standing by the road. The three women were killed on the spot. The driver and the cleaner sustained injuries as the tanker dashed against a tree.

Chief Minister’s appeal

Chief Minister Okram Ibobi appealed to the agitators to call off the blockade since people were going without essentials. He said the government was already considering forming the Sadar Hills district as well as another one with Jiribam as headquarters.

It was also examining the possibility of bifurcating the districts of Ukhrul and Churachandpur. He asked the agitators to be patient as it would take time to create the new districts.

Following the blockade and strike, the oil stock is running low. Many consumer items have vanished from the market.

Meanwhile, several hundreds of trucks and buses are stranded on either side of Sadar Hills, on the two highways.