New Delhi, May 23 (IANS) With Manipur facing an indefinite economic blockade following the state government’s decision not to allow Naga separatist leader T. Muivah to visit his ancestral village, the northeastern community in the capital have come together to pray for peace in the region.
At a prayer service in the capital Saturday, Lima Singha, who hails from Manipur and is currently working in the capital as a researcher, said: ‘There should be an end to this crisis. We have really had enough. The government – both at the state level and at the centre – should recognise the fact that it’s the common people who are suffering because of this.’
Jacob Philip, a student from Nagaland, said: ‘How long can this crisis go on? We appeal to the central government to intervene into the matter and resolve it so that innocent people do not suffer any more.’
The deadlock over Muivah’s visit has led to several Naga groups enforcing an indefinite economic blockade forcing hundreds of trucks carrying essentials to be stranded in the adjoining state of Nagaland with protesters laying a siege on National Highway 39 – the main lifeline to Manipur.
This has triggered an acute food crisis in Manipur with the state forced to airlift supplies of essentials and medicines — such was the situation that even hospitals were compelled to stop routine surgeries due to dearth of oxygen cylinders.
The Manipur government has banned Muivah’s visit in the state, saying it would incite communal tension in the state.
Madhu Chandra, who hails from Manipur and is the general secretary of the All India Christian Council, said: ‘We organised a five-hour prayer service in the capital Saturday for peace in Manipur and it was attended by people from the northeast- cutting across all sections, castes and tribes.’
‘The very fact that people from different backgrounds came together for the ceremony means that we stand united in our demand for an end to this problem and peace in the region. The centre must do something to put an end to the crisis.’
The service was attended by around 150 people, he added.
Rakhi Majumdar, a student from Assam, said: ‘It’s very easy to sit in Delhi and ignore the mammoth crisis that the common folks in Manipur are facing…we appeal to the government to resolve this crisis.’