Kuki tribal body to re-impose blockade on NH-2 

A senior government official said another major route to deliver supplies to the hill areas of Churachandpur and Tengnoupal has been blocked by Meitei groups

August 20, 2023 11:28 pm | Updated August 21, 2023 08:11 am IST

People wait in a queue to buy petrol at a fuel station in Imphal on May 27, 2023 during a blockade on national highways. Kuki body Committee on Tribal Unity has announced another blockade, which is likely to affect supply of essentials to the valley areas.

People wait in a queue to buy petrol at a fuel station in Imphal on May 27, 2023 during a blockade on national highways. Kuki body Committee on Tribal Unity has announced another blockade, which is likely to affect supply of essentials to the valley areas. | Photo Credit: PTI

A tribal body in strife-hit Manipur announced that it would re-impose the blockade of the vital Dimapur-Imphal National Highway 2 from the early hours of Monday. The blockade is likely to affect supply of essentials to the valley areas where the Meitei people live.

The Committee on Tribal Unity (COTU), Kangpokpi, said in a statement that the highway will be blocked to protest the failure of the Government of India to protect the Kuki-Zo community, and its “failure to ensure free movement of goods meant for the hill districts”. 

However, the Manipur Police posted on X on Sunday, “Movement of 163 vehicles along NH-2 with essential items has been ensured. Strict security measures are taken up in all vulnerable locations and security convoy is provided in sensitive stretches in order to ensure free and safe movement of the vehicles.”

Last week, three Kuki-Zo village volunteers were killed in the Naga-dominated Ukhrul district. 

A senior government official said another route in the south to deliver supplies to the hill areas of Churachandpur and Tengnoupal has been blocked by Meitei groups.

On August 19, an Assam Rifles convoy from Imphal could not proceed to deliver medicines, which included vaccines for children, to Kuki-dominated Churachandpur. The medicines had to be transported by choppers.

Another official said medical supplies to tribal-dominated Kangpokpi and Senapati districts were stopped at Sekmai on August 18. The police intervened and prevented the medicines from being destroyed by a mob. 

The State has been affected by ethnic violence between the Kuki and Meitei communities since May 3 and more than 160 people have been killed so far.

COTU appealed to Home Minister Amit Shah to withdraw his statement in the Lok Sabha where “he wrongly accused the non-existing Kuki Democratic Front and Kuki brothers” coming from Myanmar for causing the turmoil.

A senior police official said that the tribal bodies have been asked to cancel the blockade. “Measures are being taken to allow the uninterrupted movement of vehicles. Convoys of Assam Rifles moved to Churachandpur on Sunday, medicines were supplied on Saturday too. There is no reason for them to call for a blockade,” the official said.

The bodies also called to block the Jiribam-Imphal NH-37 also.

On July 3, the blockade at Dimapur-Imphal National Highway-2 was lifted after intense negotiation with tribal bodies and Kuki insurgent groups that have a peace pact with the Centre. 

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