48-hour highway blockade begins in Manipur

Imphal, Feb 5 (IANS) The 48-hour national highway blockade called by the United Naga Council (UNC) began from Thursday midnight, affecting normal life in Manipur.

The blockade has been called in protest against the three “anti-tribal bills” passed in the Manipur assembly on August 31 last year and the killing of nine tribal activists, whose bodies are still lying in a morgue.

The blockade is supported by the Zeliangrong Youth Front, which said it was against the talks between the Indian government and the Nagas.

The Kuki Students Organisation (KSO) and the All Naga Students Association, Manipur, (ANSAM) had also called for an indefinite blockade of the highways from February 1 midnight.

However, these organisations put off the blockade for 10 days after government assurances that their demand for regularisation of contract teachers would be looked into.

Meanwhile, the blockade could affect the success of a rally called on February 6 by civil society organisations in the four valley districts.

Organising committee convener Elangbam Johnson said the rally was in support of the future of indigenous people.

Anticipating a big turnout for the rally, the state government has made special security and traffic arrangements.

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