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Nagas to lift highway blockade

August 10, 2005 22:04 IST

A day short of completing 50 days, blockades imposed by the All Naga Students Association of Manipur on national highways 39 and 53 in protest against Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi's declaration of June 18 as state holiday, will be lifted from 12 noon on Thursday.

Disclosing this at a press conference in Kohima, Naga Students Federation president Pushika Awomi and ANSAM President Paul Langhu said they took the decision of lifting the 49-day old economic blockade after consultations with the Naga Hoho, and other Naga civil organizations keeping in view the immense hardships faced by the people of Manipur.

The student leaders however pointed out that the Manipur government should try to resolve the controversial June 18 holiday declaration and further cautioned the blockade might be resumed if the government did not attempt to find solution to the problem.

It may be mentioned that the ANSAM launched the economic blockades on the two national highways connecting the state since June 22 in protest against Chief Minister O Ibobi's declaration of June 18 as state holiday.

The student organization took the matter as an insult to the aspiration of the Naga people who are fighting to live under single administrative unit. The student body said any talks should be held in four hill districts of the state where Nagas were majority whereas the Ibobi government explained that such talks could only be held in Imphal, the state capital.

The people of Manipur had been undergoing unprecedented hardships during one of the longest economic blockades, which saw Indian Air Force planes airlifting essential items, including life saving drugs, from Guwahati.

During the 49th day economic blockade, the ANSAM activists also launched non-cooperation movement in the hill districts--Senapati, Ukhrul, Chandel and Tamenglong.

Blockade to continue till govt relents: Nagas

G Vinayak in Guwahati