TODAY -

Kuki women stop movement of 'guarded' trucks
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, June 17 2024: Hundreds of trucks carrying essential items which left Jiribam for Imphal early Monday morning with security convoy had to return to Jiribam as Kuki women blocked the NH-37 in Tatbung area of Tamenglong district.

According to sources, the trucks loaded with essential items, petroleum products and Other goods moved towards Imphal from Jiribam along NH-37 with security convoy but the vehicles were blocked by Kuki women in Tatbung area.

Security convoy and Tamenglong police repeatedly asked the Kuki women to lift the road block but to no avail.

Accordingly, all the trucks along with security convoy returned to Jiribam at about 11am.Meanwhile, drivers of the trucks have voiced strong condemnation over inability of security convoy to push back the Kuki women blocking the NH-37 .

They also said that blocking of security guarded hundreds of trucks loaded with essentials items by handful of womenfolk along the national highway testified weakness of the government.

According to out Jiri correspondent, police and Assam Rifles personnel kept strict vigil in Tatbung area to prevent unwanted incident even after all the trucks returned to Jiribam.

Later, officials of Tamenglong and Jiribam police, along with 39 Assam Rifles and DC Jiribam held talk with Kuki Inpi representatives at a school in Phaital village.

Kuki leaders, who took part the talk, refused to disclose anything about their demand when media persons approached them after the talk ended.

Sources, however, informed that the discussion centred on four points raised from the Kuki side.

The points include lifting of the restriction imposed on the Kukis in procuring medicines and essentials items from Jiribam and enabling Kuki public to procure essential items through other communities, if not directly.

The Jiribam DC will discuss the points raised by the Kukis with officials of different departments and CSO leaders of Jiribam.

Lifting of the road block agitation by the Kukis will be based on the decision taken during a meeting with the DC and different departments and CSO leaders.

On the other hand, All Jiribam Road Transport Drivers' Union president N Sadananda told some media persons that the Monday's incident at Tatbung was disheartening for drivers as trucks moving towards Imphal from Jiribam with security convoy were forced to return when some women and children came out on the road.

The incident automatically proved inefficiency of security convoy provided for trucks along the NH-37, he said, adding that drivers have lost self-confidence after the Monday's incident.

Apart from demanding security convoy or ROP which could ensure full-proof security to drivers till reaching their destination, Sadananda urged authority concerned to bring back normalcy along the NH-37 so that drivers particularly the Meeteis could move along the road without any problem.

According to PTI report, more than 100 trucks carrying essential items to Imphal were stopped near Tatbung by people who have called for an indefinite blockade of the Imphal-Silchar highway to protest violence in Jiribam district.

"Blockade supporters mostly women prevented the convoy which was coming from Jiribam and headed for Imphal valley," PTI quoted the police as saying.

The CRPF was providing escort to the trucks, they said, adding that the trucks were carrying fuel, LPG and other essential items.

Quoting a truck driver who is part of the convoy, an official said that the CRPF appealed to the blockade supporters to allow the trucks to pass but were not allowed.

An indefinite blockade along NH 53 Imphal Silchar highway has been called by Kuki Zo Village volunteers Vangailhang and Tuilangkol on June 13 to protest the outbreak of violence in Jiribam district and has been endorsed by Kuki Women Union Jiribam and Tamenglong district.

Violence in Jiribam district has claimed at least two lives.

More than 100 houses have been burnt and more than 2,000 people have been displaced.

On June 6, the body of 59-year-old Soibam Saratkumar Singh was discovered in Jiribam district triggering violence in the district which was not affected by ethnic violence till then.

Jiribam, which has a diverse ethnic composition comprising Meiteis, Muslims, Nagas, Kukis and non-Manipuris, has remained unaffected by the ethnic strife that has been raging in Manipur since May last year.

The ethnic conflict between Imphal valley-based Meiteis and hills-based Kukis has led to the deaths of over 200 people and rendered thousands of people homeless.


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