A day after the Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh confirmed that the 3-month long blockade will be called off on Tuesday, the United Naga Council (UNC) has decided not to lift the blockade.
This turnaround comes after the statement made by Chief Minister Ibobi in an exclusive interview to Outlook Magazine yesterday, where he said the UNC and the government of Manipur had mutually agreed to end the blockade and release two UNC leaders who are in police custody.
The economic blockade has been in effect for ninety three days, since 1 November 2016. The UNC says they will stick to their core issue- the roll back of the seven new districts created by the state government. They will not instead negotiate for the release of their two top leaders.
The next round of talks is now scheduled for 25 March 2017. But this comes after the scheduled dates for elections which are on 4 and 8 March 2017.
This decision to continue blockade was taken by the emergency presidential council of the United Naga Council. According to a statement, “the Presidential Council after thorough deliberation concluded that the code of conductcan't limit the Union of India nor the Governor of the State of Manipur fro intervening and fulfiling their constitutional obligation to safeguard and protect land of the tribal as enshrined in the constitution.”
UNC sources confirm that the blockade will continue to be in effect on commercial vehicles and on the constitution of the TransAsian Railways. Government offices will continue to be picketed.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine