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Centre for permanent end to NH blockade

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, June 16 � The Centre has asked the Nagaland Government to convince Naga Hoho and Naga Students� Federation (NSF) to persuade All Naga Students� Association of Manipur (ANSAM) to lift the blockade permanently.

Union Secretary Gopal Krishna Pillai chaired a meeting here today with the Chief Secretary of Manipur, DS Poonia and Additional Chief Secretaries of Nagaland, A Jamir and Toshi Aier, to discuss issues relating to movement of vehicles through NH-39 and NH-53.

Official sources said the meeting took note of the fact that the Naga Students� Federation had withdrawn the economic blockade in Nagaland from 6 pm yesterday. It also took note of the Gauhati High Court�s order to the Central Government and the State Governments of Nagaland and Manipur that NH-39 and NH-53 be kept free from all obstructions.

All sides reiterated the importance of keeping the National Highways open for movement of goods and people. The Government of India is committed to keeping the NH-39 and NH-53 open. The first convoy of goods for Manipur, as informed by the State Government, is expected to move to Imphal on Saturday.

The permanent arrangement of National Highway Protection Force for protecting and keeping open NH-39 would also be put in place, sources said.

Sources said at least five companies of Central para-military forces are likely to be deployed on the NH-39 to thwart any attempt to block it in the future.

The move comes in the face of the threats by the agitating Nagas that they were temporarily suspending the agitation and may revive it later, if their demands were not met.

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