Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Manipur Blockade...

For about 6 weeks now, various Naga tribal groups have been blocking two highways, NH39 and NH53 that lead into Manipur. Why? They are protesting against the Manipur government's decision not to allow Mr. Muivah to visit his birthplace in Manipur. Who is Muivah? He heads, what is called as the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (IM). NSCN basically is fighting for "Greater Nagaland", and this means that it wants controls over parts of Manipur too.

The above paragraph is a very simple explanation of the background. Suggest that further reading be done, to understand the full problem (one such article is this).

Anyways, so now Muivah decides to visit his home town in Manipur. Manipur government refuses. So tribal groups supporting him block the highways that go to Manipur. For the past 6 weeks, because of this blockade, vehicles carrying essential items have been stranded, people wanting to go back have been stranded, and trade activities have come to a near complete halt. Then what about those staying inside Manipur. Given that no fresh essentials have been allowed inside, rates have sky rocketed, hospitals are in short supply for medicines and have reduced the intake of people (so now we have more sick people, and no medicines), there is little or no petrol and diesel available.

'A litre of petrol is selling at Rs.200, a cooking gas cylinder for Rs.1,500, while a kilogram of rice is selling at Rs.60 to Rs.70,' - This is from a resident of Manipur. Look at this picture in the link. If this were to happen, say in Central India, would the media have been so silent? IPL - a private business venture, run by a group of private individuals hogged the limelight in ALL national news channels for a full week. Yes, for a full week. With little or no updates from the first day to the 7th. I did a google search for "Manipur Blockade" and many news items showed up. Except for the first link, all the other links were last updated on May 12. Today is May 18th. And the blockade is still on.

A state in India is facing so much hardship, and the media is nowhere to be seen and worse the central government is nowhere to be seen. Why blame the citizens from North East when such kind of treatment is meted out to them?

PS: This article by Tarun Vijay makes good reading.


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