Shohaib Rahaman *
Trucks stranded at Mao reach Imphal on December 02 2016 :: Pix - TSE
For the people of Manipur, the economic blockades have become a periodic event with no single year without it for the past few years. What is disturbing is the ease with which it is imposed and the state's inability to deal it effectively leaving the people in pains.
The people of this state have braved months long economic blockades for one reason or the other or for the fault of some authority or nobody with severe inadequate essential supplies and hours of standing in queues just to get some petrol fuel.
The current economic blockade called by United Naga Council(UNC) shows their sheer lack of logic and too self-centric. They are the ones who calls for Greater Nagaland arguing they (nagas) should rule themselves and determine their own destiny.
If that is the logic, who are they to interfere when the people of Jiribam and Sadar Hills want themselves to be in a separate revenue districts so as to enhance their development?
Just because it involves naga inhabited areas doesn't make sense to obstruct the people of Jiribam and Sadar Hills from realising their goals. UNC should remind itself that the effects of such blockades reach the Naga people in the state too.
Trying to grab the attention of Manipur government through such means is a desperate act showing their weakness despite its illegality.
The Kerala High Court on a petition has declared it illegal and unconstitutional way back in 1994 and it has been upheld by the Supreme Court also. Instead all the stakeholders should sit down together and talk. If UNC insists on resorting to such illegal means, it's a ripe time for the state to crack down on it through legal means.
Then comes the counter blockade from the valley people to stop essential supplies to the hills area just like UNC doesn't want hundreds of trucks carryring essential supplies reach Imphal and the whole people suffers though the effect of counter blockade is little as compared to those blockades at Mao Gate and Jiribam. Again the current demonetisation move has add salt to the injury.
In this scenario what steps is the government taking up?
It's a highly commendable step that on the interim order of Manipur High Court, through the heavy deployment of security forces, several trucks stuck at Mao gate and Jiribam were brought to Imphal and this will ease the people's sufferings to a great extent.
Also the Chief Minister has made some bold statements in this regard. Yet the people will ask why the government didn't take such steps in earlier cases of economic blockades.
In fact, this step isn't effective for the present and same was the case before also though some measures were taken up in all cases.
It's also obvious to point out the upcoming assembly elections and ask if it is a political gimmick. Whatever be the arguments, easing the people's suffering is a great job which needs to be appreciated.
Yet the present government should refrain from making political gains out of this in the coming elections as it has more failures than success on this aspect.
More question arises. How many economic blockades shall we have to suffer more?
The present blockade isn't the first and it may not be the last. There rises a need to put an ultimatum to it though it is not that easy.
The state government needs to take bold steps and act properly whenever such economic blockades arises so that there is no effect on the people.
It needs to send out a strong message that it won't tolerate such illegal acts so that it won't have a recurring effect easily.
* Shohaib Rahaman wrote this article for e-pao.net
The writer is a student of Delhi University and can be reached at shohaaiibb(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was posted on December 08, 2016.
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