IMPHAL, Nov 17 – The indefinite blockade on National and State highways in Manipur, called by the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC), began at 5 pm today. The KSDC called this blockade demanding creation of a Kuki state as they felt “neglected” in the present setup in Manipur.
KSDC general secretary H Benjamin Mate said that they will not suspend their agitation until and unless a written assurance is given by the Government of India that the process of political dialogue with Kukis, involving KSDC and Kuki militants, would begin within a predetermined date.
"No vehicle will be allowed to ply in Kuki-inhabited areas during the blockade," a KSDC functionary said.
The blockade is likely to affect normal life in Manipur as all supplies from the rest of the country come by road through the Imphal-Dimapur (216km) and the Imphal-Jiribam (222km) Highways, passing through Kuki-inhabited areas.
Hours before the beginning of the blockade, people of Imphal thronged oil pumps for last-minute fill-up of their vehicles as the State had experienced similar road blockades last year.
The blockade was supposed to start on November 15 but was postponed by 48 hours in view of the Ningol Chakkouba festival which was celebrated on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Manipur-based civil society organization United Committee Manipur (UCM) on Friday said it wants a consultation with the United Naga Council and KDSC to bring an amicable solution to the problem.
“Let us together approach the authority to address our grievances,” UCM president Y Nabachandra said referring to the demands of an alternative arrangement for Nagas as demanded by UNC and a separate Kuki State by KSDC.
Manipur Deputy Chief Minister Gaikhaingam is reportedly camping in New Delhi to meet Central leaders to resolve the situation in Manipur while State Chief Minister O Ibobi is away in Australia.