Ukhrul bound vehicles set afire by Meitei protesters
Ukhrul bound vehicles set afire by Meitei protestersNagalim Times

A Manipuri student studying in Sri Jayachamarajendra College of Engineering in Mysuru, Karnataka has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene in the ongoing economic blockade in Manipur. The blockade by the Naga over the creation of seven new districts in Manipur has led to violence in the state by Meiteis in Imphal and other areas. 

Ronald Laishram, a third-year engineering student, who had been acknowledged by late President Abdul Kalam for discovering the Main Belt Asteroid "Maur 397" as part of the All-India Asteroid Search Campaign (AIASC) held in December 2014 in the college, said, "People are killed like mosquitoes every now and then. And it is a clueless hunt for the law and order keepers to book and punish the criminals."

The blockade, imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) on National Highway 2 (Imphal-Dimapur highway) and National Highway 37 (Imphal-Silchar highway) from November 1 midnight till now had led to non-availability of essential commodities in Manipur. 

The unrest has affected most of the state and the violent repercussions were most apparent in Imphal. After a church frequented by Naga Christians was attacked curfew was imposed in East and West Imphal district.  Mobile internet services were also shut down in the state. 

"Vehicles coming toward Imphal are being checked by supporters of UNC to stop the transportation of essential commodities to the hills. The economic blockade has not only caused a shortage of goods, but also children are being deprived of education as they can't go to schools due to non-availability of fuel. It also added fuel to the fire when the demonetisation process is going on where the people don't have adequate money in their hands," Laishram said. 

He added:  "And in the recent ambush, NSCN-IM killed four Manipur policemen, and injured 11. Still, you don't say anything about it. The present policy of the Government of India appeasing Naga underground (NSCN-IM), sacrificing the vital interest of Manipur, added fuel to the prevailing ethnic tension in Manipur. This is definitely not a wise policy of the Government of India," his letter reads.
Ronald also told Express, "I have requested an appointment with the PM as I do have ideas to solve the issue."

The BJP state legislative assembly leader Khumukcham Joykishan quit the party on Wednesday to join Congress. He wrote to the party saying that he is resigning from primary/active membership of the party. 

"BJP has not done anything to address the problems faced by the people presently in the state. It has not done anything to address the issue of the economic blockade," Joykishan, who was being considered as a CM candidate, said. 

"NSCN(I-M), which is in peace talks with the Centre, killed five police men in Tengnoupal and snatched arms from Indian Reserve Battalion in Tamenglong. I ask, why is the Centre keeping mum?"

"Let my exit from the party make my former party colleagues unite and try to bring peace in our state. I wish and do hope the BJP will hear the voice of people now," he added.

A BJP delegation from Manipur met Home Minister Rajnath Singh after Joykishan's resignation. They quoted Singh as saying that he was aware of the incidents in Manipur. United Naga Council demanded president's rule in the state. 

The economic blockade has lasted more than 51 days and the only thing the Centre did was deploy 4,000 security personnel to manage the violence in Imphal.