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Naga students suspend NH blockade

By The Assam Tribune

KOHIMA, June 18 � The over 60-day economic blockade of two highways in Manipur was temporarily suspended by Naga students today, giving a breather to the people who faced an acute crisis of essentials, reports PTI.

The agitators, however, decided to �sever� all ties with the Manipur government and sought an �alternative arrangement� for Nagas in Manipur from the Centre.

The decision to lift the blockade from 4 pm today was taken here at a meeting of Naga Students� Federation (NSF), Naga Hoho (council), All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM), United Naga Council, Naga People�s Movement for Human Rights-South (NPMHR) and Naga Women Union Manipur (NWUM), a joint statement said.

The declaration said the blockade was being temporarily lifted in view of the request by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram, student bodies of the neighbouring states and civil societies.

The suspension came ahead of the Centre�s decision to escort goods vehicles from tomorrow on the NH-39 with the help of central paramilitary forces. Three CRPF companies from Delhi landed in Imphal yesterday to clear the blockade.

The ANSAM had continued with the blockade since April 12 in Manipur even after the NSF, after a meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi, had withdrawn it at the Nagaland side on June 15.

The blockade by ANSAM was to protest holding of elections to the autonomous district councils in the hills.

In a joint declaration, ANSAM, UNC and other Naga civil society bodies demanded that the elections to the autonomous district councils be declared null and void.

The meeting also endorsed the UNC�s decision to �sever� all ties with the Manipur government and demanded that the Centre immediately make �alternative arrangements� for Nagas in Manipur.

It said that the Centre had earlier given assurances for removal of Manipur Armed Police and Section 144 CrPC from Naga areas in Manipur which had not taken place till date and should be immediately implemented.

The meeting also condemned the declaration of presidents of UNC and ANSAM as offenders and �fixing price tags� on them by the Manipur government.

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