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Manipuris panicked by announcement of economic blockade on National highways

IMPHAL:Following announcement of a 10-day long economic blockade on the national highways in Manipur, alarmed people Tuesday made a beeline at petrol pumps to tank up their vehicles.

Kuki People Liberation Front/Army (KPLF/KPLA), an armed militant group, while alleging indifferent attitude of the Congress government in Manipur towards Kuki issues, particularly to the nine ‘Kuki martyrs’ who died protesting the three bills passed by the state Assembly on Aug 31 has announced an economic blockade on the national highways leading to the state from midnight of Oct 21 to midnight of Oct 31.

While announcing the 10-day blockade, the KPLF/KPLA further warned of imposing indefinite blockade from November 2 if the state government still fails to take up positive action on the matter.
The outfit further asked the Kuki MLAs to resign from their post within October 31. The MLAs should be held responsible for any outcome if they fail to resign, the outfit warned while urging Kuki people to boycott the Kuki MLAs socially.

The KPLF/KPLA said the bills passed on August 31 were ‘anti-Kuki’ and ‘anti-tribal’ in nature. No official came to ‘Kuki territory’ for any census operation or for NCR or to maintain Village Directory in 1951. As such, adopting 1951 as the cut off base year for defining people of Manipur is illogical and not acceptable.

The statement reminded that KPLF/KPLA had announced its boycott of Congress party from March 31 in the run up to the ADC polls for its alleged negligence of the Kukis.

The continuous attempt of the state government to extend MLR&LR Act in Kuki and tribal ancestral land with amendments of the Act and overlooking power of HAC is a serious threat to the rights and identity of the Kukis, it said.

The Kukis had fought several wars with the British like the Anglo-Kuki War (1845-1871), Kuki Uprising/Rebellion (1917-19) and WW-II, it said.

The Kuki chiefs and people also helped the Manipur Maharaja in the ‘Ava Lan’ against the Burmese invasion of Manipur. The Kukis also joined the fight for the protection of Manipur. As such, it is now time for the State Govt to immediately assist the Kukis for a political settlement.

Following the announcement of blockade on the national highways, people today made a beeline queue at oil pumps in Imphal, fearing shutting down of the pumps with the excuse of stock exhaustion which has been witnessing in the state for every instant of uncertainty on the national highways.

Though the scarcity for petrol and diesel in most outlets in the city and elsewhere could not be felt much till yesterday because of their near normal availability, the situation changed this morning with hundreds of taxis, private vehicles and two wheelers making a beeline in front of petrol pumps. In some busy pumps, vehicles stood in queues for more than three hours. This also led to frequent altercation between pump employees and vehicle owners.

Interestingly, some petrol pumps even hung the ‘’no stock’’ board which led to the mushrooming up of black marketers nearby the very oil filling stations.

A private vehicle owner said that even if authority of the government would say there was enough stock of petrol and diesel, “We have been witnessing closure of oil pumps whenever, there is bandh, blockade and any type of uncertainty on the national highways.”

When the pumps closed down, we have nothing to do but to buy fuel from black marketers at much higher prices. Considering the situation that would surely come up in the next few days as a result of the blockade, it would be better to keep some quantity of petrol in stock. As such, “I am in queue with the hope at least some quantity of petrol,” he said.

Source: NPN

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