Imphal, March 19: The longest-ever economic blockade on Manipur highways including two National Highways by the United Naga Council (UNC) protesting the creation of new districts in the volatile north eastern border state comes to end on its 139th day, on Sunday.
The UNC has decided to lift the indefinite economic blockade from Sunday midnight following an understanding that was reached during tripartite talks involving representatives of the centre and the state governments at Senapati district headquarters, 60 km north of Imphal on Sunday, according to UNC General Secretary S Milan.
All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM) President Seth Shatsang also confirmed the development when contacted over the phone after the meeting.
Manipur has been reeling from the indefinite economic blockade by UNC, which was protesting the creation of Sadar Hills and Jiribam into full-fledged districts, since November 1 midnight, saying that the government’s decision affected the interest of the Nagas. However, the then Congress government had said it was for administrative convenience.
Additional Chief Secretary Suresh Babu and Commissioner (Home) Radha Kumar representing Manipur government; and joint Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) North East in-charge Satyender Garg representing the government of India, also attended the talks.
Former presidents of the UNC Paul Leo, Samson Remei, Lohrii Adani, UNC General Secretary S Milan, ANSAM President Shatsang and Naga Women Union President LM Tabitha also attended the talks which started from 1.35 pm and concluded at 4.10 pm after a break.
As per the understanding, the state government will unconditionally release the arrested UNC President Gaidon Kamei and its Publicity Secretary Stephen besides closing all cases against the Naga tribal leaders and student leaders in connection with the blockade.
The UNC will also lift the blockade with immediate effect to create conducive environment for the democratic process of consultation and dialogue, sources said.
Also, the state government ‘agrees to start consultations with all stakeholders.’
‘The next tripartite talks will be held within a month time at the political level,’ the source added.