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Government to send troopers to end Manipur blockade

New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) Paramilitary forces will be deployed from Tuesday onwards to end the 65-day economic blockade of Manipur by Naga tribal groups that has led to acute shortages of food and medicines, says Home Secretary G.K. Pillai.

‘We will move the forces to lift the blockade,’ Pillai told IANS here as supplies of essentials to the northeastern state remained cut off for more than two months.

Pillai said central forces would be deployed all along National Highway 39 from Assam to Manipur to lift the blockade that has triggered a humanitarian crisis in the state.

‘The forces will be deployed from Tuesday,’ he said.

Several Naga groups had April 11 called an indefinite blockade of National Highway 39, Manipur’s main lifeline, to protest the decision of the state government not to allow separatist leader Thuingaleng Muivah to visit his birthplace in Manipur.

The Manipur government banned 75-year-old Muivah’s trip to his home village, saying it could stoke unrest.

The non-stop blockade has led to an acute food crisis in Manipur with trucks carrying essentials and medicines stranded in the adjoining state of Nagaland as protestors lay siege on the highway.

Landlocked Manipur depends on supplies from outside the region with trucks from the rest of India carrying essentials passing through Nagaland.

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