Mixed response to Naga-backed shutdown in Manipur

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Senapati (Manipur), Apr 7 (ANI): Everyday life came to a standstill in parts of insurgency-hit Manipur after the United Naga Council, the apex body of Nagas, called for a 12-hour-shutdown on Tuesday.

Transportation throughout the state was crippled, but the call for a shutdown failed to have much effect in Kuki-dominated areas of the state.

The strike came after the State Government announced that elections in the six autonomous district councils of the state would be held in two phases, on May 17 and 24.

The United Naga Council is, however, against the current status of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Act, 1971, the legislation under which the forthcoming polls would be held, saying that the councils would function governments tools.

"I want that the term 'autonomous' should be retained and want elections to be conducted. And also the Act should be changed," said R. S. Abel, General Secretary, Senapati District Olympic Association.

The forthcoming elections are being viewed with disapproval by many locals.

"District elections after 20 years, we don't know how it will be. ut any election, as I said earlier, is always dividing people. Because you have all the parties who contest election, so it divides people. The unity of the people is obviously divided through these party lines. So I think even district elections will be the same, like state elections," said Grace, the president of Senapati District Women's Association.

Over 20 militant groups operate in Manipur with some demanding freedom while others seek more political autonomy. (ANI)

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