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India PM to tell Manipuris Centre not responsible for blockade

PM to tell Manipuris Centre not responsible for blockade

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi plans to address a rally in Manipur on 25 February to counter Chief Minister Ibobi Singh’s attempt to hold the Centre responsible for the blockade continuing in the State. The State government has failed to utilise the services of security forces stationed there to bring respite to the people facing a crisis of essential commodities.

Sources said that Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar, who is in charge of the BJP in Manipur, was visiting the State frequently and looking after the management of the prime minister’s rally. Javadekar has addressed 8 rallies in the State so far to tell the people that the local government wanted this artificial crisis of essential commodities to continue till the Assembly elections were over.

Manipur predominantly has 3 ethnicities – Meiteis, Nagas and Kukis. The Nagas want their region to be merged with Nagaland to form a greater Nagalim. One may recall that the blockade, which started in Manipur in December 2016, was against the creation of more districts for Kukis’ consolidation and administrative convenience. The Nagas feel it is an attempt of dividing their territory and snatch away powers from the semi-autonomous districts as the newer districts are smaller; this triggered the blockade.

The Manipur government is not ready to yield to the demand and pull back. Successive governments have failed to invest in the region, leading to massive youth discontentment that manifests through such activism.

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Sadhana Shukla
Senior journalist and political commentator

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