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Manipuri students launch Nagaland blockade

By Sobhapati Samom

IMPHAL, June 8 � A Joint Action Committee (JAC) formed by 12 organisations under the aegis of All Assam Manipuri Students� Union during a joint meeting held at Manja in Karbi Anglong has launched a 36-hour road blockade on NH 39 (Numaligarh to Dimapur) and NH 36 (Nagaon to Dimapur) from 5 am today, reports said.

The blockade is against trucks carrying essential goods and petroleum products into Nagaland. The blockade on the these Highways shall be extended, if ANSAM, UNC and other Naga organisations extend and intensify their blockade in Nagaland and Manipur, it added.

The JAC was formed to carry out various democratic agitations to remove the hardship faced by the tribal and non-tribal people of Manipur due to the prolonged economic blockade on NH 39 and NH 53 by ANSAM and UNC in Manipur and supported and intensified by Naga Students� Federation (NSF) in Nagaland on NH 39.

The formation of the JAC is a follow up action of two rallies and a meeting held at Hojai on May 17 and at Amarjan village on May 26. The JAC has started sending its volunteers to all strategic locations to launch the blockade, it further said.

In another development, the European Manipuri Assocition (EMA), London, United Kingdom has urged the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh to take immediate steps to diffuse the humanitarian crisis prevailing in Manipur.

In a letter which was made available to the local press here, EMA drew the attention of the PM to �the profound humanitarian crisis continuing in Manipur due to the on-going economic blockade by ANSAM and others since April 11.

It said, �As you are aware, the NH 39 and NH 53, are the only proper conduits linking Manipur to mainland India. They are the lifelines on which millions of Manipuris depend for all their essential supplies�.

�The blockade of the National Highways has effectively choked the entire population of Manipur resulting in acute shortage of food, medicine and other essential commodities in the State. The price of food grains and other household supplies has escalated to such a level that ordinary people are being driven to starvation�.

The EMA further said that school children have been denied the most basic rights to education as school vans and buses have halted service due to fuel shortage. If the situation continues unabated the entire infrastructure and support system in the State would collapse.

�The tragedy is that it is not the first time Manipur has faced a crisis of such magnitude. Time and again, various groups have blockaded NH 39 and NH 53 as a form of collective punishment taking the entire population of Manipur to ransom.

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