Imphal: A three-day
'total blockade' called by Naga leaders has begun in parts of
Manipur despite an appeal by union Home Minister P. Chidambaram
and Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh to Naga groups to suspend
their agitation, an official said Friday.
The blockade, which began Thursday night, has badly affected life.
Naga leaders say this is to protest the Manipur government's
agreement with leaders of the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand
"Shops, banks, offices and educational institutions were shut
while vehicular traffic remained off the road in Naga tribal
dominated areas, specially in northern and western Manipur, due to
the stir," a government official told reporters here Friday.
"Life was crippled in the hilly regions. No untoward incident has
been reported yet from anywhere in the mountainous areas adjacent
to Nagaland and Assam," the official added.
Accompanied by the chief minister, Chidambaram during his two-day
trip that ended Thursday, visited different parts of Manipur. He
appealed to Naga groups to call-off their agitation and sit with
the government to resolve their demands.
"There is no problem which could not be solved through dialogue,"
Chidambaram said at the gatherings held in Tamenglong and Senapati
A joint statement issued by the United Naga Council (UNC) and the
All-Naga Students' Association in Manipur (ANSAM) said: "The state
government's handling of the issue of formation of a new district
"The Manipur government had signed an agreement with leaders of
the Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC) Monday
midnight without consensus. The accord is in complete violation of
the agreement the government had reached with the Naga bodies
earlier," the statement said.
The SHDDC had launched the economic blockade Aug 1 on two arterial
national highways - Imphal-Dimapur-Guwahati (NH 39) and
Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar (NH53) - to press the demand for conversion
of Kuki tribal majority Sadar Hills area into a full fledged
The 92-day long economic blockade was lifted by the SHDDC Tuesday
following the agreement.
However, tribal Nagas inhabiting the area are opposed to creation
of a full fledged Sadar Hills district.
The Nagas have since Aug 1 also launched a counter-blocakde on the
two highways opposing the demand by the Kuki people for a separate
Of Manipur's 2.7 million residents, 33 percent are tribals,
comprising 29 major tribes in the hills, with Nagas and Kuki being
two of the dominant ones.