Vehicles face blockade brunt, 8 damaged
Source: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network
Imphal, August 01 2011:
Altogether 8 vehicles including a passenger bus were damaged and around 7 volunteers of Sardar Hills District Demand Committee (SHDDC) were injured on the first day of the 7-day economic blockade imposed by the SHDDC along National Highway-39 and National Highway-53 leading to Imphal.
Sadar Hills Districthood Demand Committee (SHDDC) sponsored 7-day economic blockade began today demanding the declaration of Sadar Hills as a full fledged revenue district, with the prospect of extending the blockade further if its demand is not met by the State Government by August 7 .
On the other hand around 275 stranded goods laden trucks were escorted by security personnel from Jiribam to Imphal today.
The escorted goods laden trucks which include rice, Urea, etc arrived at Imphal safely at around 7 pm today.
According to police report, another 25 goods laden trucks have also been escorted by security personnel from Senapati along National Highway 39 at around 3 pm.
As Newmai News Network was covering the agitation along the two national highways today, blockade supporters stopped not only goods vehicles but even the passenger buses to check whether they were carrying goods.
During the check, a bus coming from Dimapur was pelted with stones by the volunteers of SHDDC at Taphou village in NH-39 for refusing to pay heed to the signal for stopping.
The wind-shield and windows of the bus were damaged.
In some locality along the national highways, furious volunteers of SHDDC charged the transporters even though they came along with the escort personnel.
In the process of clash between the bandh supporters and the security forces personnel comprising commandos and CRPF, 7 bandh supporters were injured.
At Taphou area, around 200 goods laden trucks heading for Imphal got stranded due to the blockade.
Meanwhile, the SHDDC strongly condemned the state government for clamping CrPC 144 in Sardar Hills.
The agitation of SHDDC was started after a series of meetings in various villages along the NH-39 and NH-53 that had given thumping pledges to endorse the economic blockade.
It can be mentioned that public meetings were held at Kangpokpi, Gamgiphai, Keithelmanbi and many other places last week in this connection.
Public leaders in all the meeting voiced in one line.
"We will leave no stone unturned to achieve our goal," was the theme of the series of public meetings.
Earlier, SHDDC president Ngamkhohao Haokip had informed Newmai News Network saying, "Following the abject apathy of the state government to our demand, we are forced into the decision to call a total economic blockade along National Highways 39 and 53 beginning midnight of July 31 which may be extended if the government does not respond positively to the demand for a full fledged Sadar Hills district within the one-week time frame" .
Mr Haokip had noted that in order to give protection to the hill people under the Constitution of India, Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Act, 1971 was enacted, prior to Manipur gaining statehood, as the government of the day was apprehensive that the cause of the hill people might not be addressed by the establishment.
Despite the act having been implemented in letter and spirit in all the hill districts of Manipur, the cause of Sadar Hills autonomous district council has been constantly and relentlessly ignored by successive government in the state, he said.
Earlier the British administration, and later Manipur Constitution Act, 1947 strongly advocated separate administration for the hill areas of Manipur because of the widely held notion that there is nothing common between the plain and the hill people.
The Northeast (Re-organization) Act, 1971 and other acts of the Constitution also provide special provision for administration under the 6th scheduled in most Northeast states of India, the president said.
He went on to say that the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Act, 1971 effectively empowers the state government to redraw district boundaries.
And accordingly, given the exigency and the politics of the time, successive state government has instituted a committee to study the boundary of Sadar Hills ADC.
Several reports have already been submitted and adjustments had been made, but chief ministers and governors had successively refused to uphold their constitutional duty despite assurances made to SHDDC, Haokip lamented.