Tahlka News Desk
Manipur: Longest Economic blockade of Manipur has been ended on Sunday midnight. The Five month long blockade was done imposed by the UNI (United Naga Council) on 1st of November 2016. The Naga groups have done the protest against the creation of seven new districts by the erstwhile Okram Ibobi Singh led Congress government in the state.
Appreciating the "first step of the newly formed government" led by the BJP, Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla said the lifting of the blockade "will usher in an era of peace and prosperity" in the northeastern state.
Chief Minister Biren Singh said the lifting of the blockade was "just the beginning" and that his government was trying to fulfil the promises Prime Minister Narendra Modi had made to the people of the state.
The United Naga Council (UNC), the apex body of Nagas in the state, decided to call off the 139 day long blockade of the state's two national highways, after talks with representatives from the state and Centre earlier in the day.
"The blockade lifted from Sunday midnight following an understanding reached during the talks," UNC general secretary S Milan told over phone from district headquarters of Senapati, 60 km north of Imphal.
As per the agreement, the state government will unconditionally release UNC President Gaidon Kamei and its publicity secretary Stephen Lamkang, who were arrested for their alleged roles in violence during the blockade, and also close all cases against Naga leaders.
Manipur has been reeling under indefinite economic blockade of the NH 2 and 37 by the UNC in protest against the creation of Sadar Hills and Jiribam into full fledged districts by the state's erstwhile Congress government.
While the UNC maintained the new districts affect the interest of the Nagas, the Congress government said it was done for administrative convenience.
The blockade was a major issue during this month's election with the BJP promising to end it soon after assuming power.
The state's first BJP chief minister N. Biren Singh also stated after assuming office on Wednesday that his government's first priority would be to hold talks with the UNC and end the blockade.
"The Manipur government acknowledged that creation of the new districts were against past deals with us and assured there will be further dialogues to address our concerns," Milan said.
In the initial months of the blockade, the state witnessed crippling scarcity of supplies especially petroleum products and essential medicines. It eased a bit when convoys of trucks started reaching Imphal under heavy security.
During the blockade in the state three security personnel were killed and over a dozen injured in attacks allegedly by cadres of the extremist National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah).