Naga students to call off blockade in Manipur

New Delhi, June 14 (IANS) The Naga Students Federation (NSF) Monday said after meeting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here that it planned to call off the two-month long economic blockade of Manipur ‘temporarily’.

‘We met the prime minister this morning and he assured us that he will look into the matter and asked us to call off the blockade. Therefore, we have decided to temporarily suspend the blockade after consultations with senior members in Kohima,’ NSF’s Samuel told reporters here.

The delegation was led by NSF president Mutsikhoyo Yhobu.

The central government Monday said paramilitary troopers would be used to break the blockade enforced by Nagas in Manipur to ensure that supplies of essentials enter Manipur, now facing an acute shortage of food and drugs.

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

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

Samuel said: ‘The Manipur government, instead of resolving the crisis and addressing the matter, issued arrest warrants against our student leaders and human rights activists which compelled us to continue our fight.

‘Therefore what we are demanding now – and what we have put forth to the prime minister too – is to take back those warrants and immediately withdraw the Manipur security forces from the Naga areas in Manipur,’ he added.

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