TODAY -

Land of bandhs and blockades : Cutting the lifelines of the people
- The Sangai Express Editorial :: November 02 2015 -



Highway blockade. Economic blockade. Highway bandh. Indefinite or set within a time frame.

Whatever prefix or nomenclature one may give, all have the same effect.

The target may be the Government or any of its policies, but invariably it is the common people who end up at the receiving end.

And so it is that Manipur will once again be undergoing yet another round of economic blockade, with the United Naga Council blockading the lifelines of the State from November 2 to November 12.

So it is not an indefinite blockade, but already it is the common people who are set to feel the pinch.

Not the first time and this will not be the last one either.

Just take a look at scenario and there is no reason to be upbeat by any stretch of the imagination.

The UNCís blockade has come just as the 10 days blockade called by the Kuki People Liberation Front/Army ended on October 31.

Prior to this there was the 48 hour bandh called in the Naga areas by the United Naga Council from midnight of October 22 and again before this there was the 48 hour bandh called by the Kadangband JAC to demand that the Magisterial report filed in connection with the death of two persons at the hands of the Assam Rifles be made public.

A blockade was also in the pipeline, but thankfully the JAC suspended the blockade plan following a talk with the Chief Minister.

So a land of bandh and blockade and Manipur has certainly earned this infamous tag.

The three Bills as well as the resolution passed by the State Assembly on August 31 are the thread that runs through all the recent bandhs and blockades save for the protest launched by the Kadangband JAC.

Putting the pressure on the Government and in the case of the proposed economic blockade, the UNC has more than made it clear that they are drawing the attention of the Centre.

It is not clear whether blockades or bandhs will compel the Government to address the issue which has been brought up, but what is more than clear is the plain fact that it is the common people who stand to be hit the hardest.

Already petrol pumps have run dry and the people will need to fork out Rs 150 or so for a litre of petrol in the black market.

Prices of essential commodities are sure to skyrocket and the Ningol Chakkouba festival will be hit. Education may be exempted but it stands that any agitation on the highways is sure to disturb the academic pursuit of the young students.

Has anyone given any thought to this ?

With the MLAs, ADC Members and civil society organisations of Sadar Hills earlier serving October 31 as the deadline to the State Government to declare Sadar Hills as a full fledged district, Manipur can certainly expect more stormy days ahead.

Can anyone forget the 123 days of 2011 ?

Whatever the outcome, the fact stands that it is not the policy makers and those who come higher up in the pecking order of the Government who suffer whenever the highways are blocked but the common people.

But this is a point which has always been overlooked. Welcome to the land of bandhs and blockades.



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