New Delhi, Jan 19: Union Home Minister Rajth Singh has asked the galand Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang to convince the United ga Council (UNC) leaders to withdraw the economic blockade in Manipur. “In an effort to ease up the ongoing imbroglio in Manipur between the people of the Hill districts headed by the United ga Council and the Government of Manipur, Union Home Minister Rajth Singh today (Wednesday) told T.R. Zeliang to talk to the ga leaders in Manipur to solve the matter amicably and at the earliest,” said a statement from the galand Government. The meeting was also attended by the Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh.
galand Government said that Singh has told Zeliang to convince the ga leaders in Manipur to call off their blockade and come to some sort of understanding with the Government of Manipur. According to the galand Government, Zeliang has also sought the tripartite meeting between Manipur government, UNC leaders and Central government to be either held at Sepati in Manipur or in New Delhi. However, the demand by Zeliang was opposed by Manipur CM who sought the meeting to be held in Imphal.
Tension has been simmering in Manipur due to an economic blockade called by the UNC in the state, which has existed almost for three months now over the creation of a new district in Manipur carving the ga inhabited areas. tiol Highways 37 and 2 have been badly affected due to the blockade. Election Commission has set March 4 and 8 for the state assembly polls. Although the blockade started on November 1 when the state government was planning to create new districts by bifurcating the existing ga-domited areas, it intensified after the government ignored the agitation and went ahead to declare Jirbam as a full-fledged district. The state government also created new districts of Kangpokpi, Tengoupal, Pharzol, Kakching, Noney and Kamjongin. According to the UNC, the creation of new districts out of ga territory without their consent is a deliberate act to suppress the rights of gas in the state. In December last year, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju said the Central government will extend all assistance to restore normalcy in the state. Apart from sending 150 companies of para-military forces to Manipur when the blockade started, the Central government also sent seven additiol companies of para-military forces, a step condemned by the tiolist Socialist Council of galim-Isak-Muivah(NSCN-IM). (IANS)