48-hr bandh in hill districts of Manipur from Oct 31

Imphal, Oct 30: Sadar Hills District Demand Committee, spearheading the ongoing economic blockade on two national highways in Manipur, has given a call for a 48-hour bandh in all the five hill districts of the state from midnight of Oct 31.

A SSDDC spokesman said after the bandh in all the hill districts of Manipur, an indefinite general strike would begin in Kuki-dominated Sadar Hills area in Naga-majority Senapati district.

The spokesman said they would prevent the entry of all MLAs and ministers in Sadar Hills area from Nov 1 next. The SHDDC had launched economic blockades on two national highways 39 (Imphal-Dimapur-Guwahati) and 53 (Imphal-Jiribam- Silchar), from August 1 in support of their demand, conversion of Sadar Hills into a revenue district.

Opposing the SHDDC demand, the United Naga Council (UNC) had launched a counter blockade on the same two highways from August 21. Meanwhile, state Works Minister K Ranjit on October 27 last was prevented from going to into the area for five hours by woman supporters of SHDDC.

Ranjit was later 'rescued' by police commandos hours, official sources said. The Manipur government has ordered an enquiry to find out why the minister was 'detained' by SHDDC supporters.

Ranjit told reporters yesterday that if the agitation became violent, their demand might not be realised. The state cabinet has met more than seven times to discuss the Sadar Hills issue but a final decision could not be taken because it might spark ethnic clashes, the sources said.


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