Manipur violence: Key highways open up leading to hill districts amid Kuki-Zo opposition

NEW DELHI | Updated: 23 December, 2023 9:31 pm IST
Vehicles are being guided by convoy (TNI Photo)

IMPHAL: In a bid to return normalcy in Manipur, the state government announced that it would open key highways leading to the hill districts for public transport, on Saturday. 

These highways will connect the hill districts such as Churachandpur to the Valley region of the state’s capital, Imphal. Additional security convoys have also been put into place in these regions to guarantee smooth travel amid the ethnic violence. 

Following the announcement, multiple civil society groups have opposed it, including most Kuki-Zo community groups. 

 

Presently, the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) has decided to seal off the entire Churachandpur district and its entry points. This would obstruct all traffic flow into the hill district. Moreover, this would also not permit the state government led by N Biren Singh to post more forces or open more routes into the district. The ITLF cited concerns over possible disruption during Christmas Eve. 

The movement of public transport systems through security convoys will be done to outweigh the economic blockades along the national highway imposed by the Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU). The civil society has been strategically placing the blockades along Kangpokpi district at regular intervals. 

 

Following the development, multiple residents of the state could be seen availing the benefits posed by the opening of roads leading to the highways. Sarojini, a resident of Imphal, illustrated that she was extremely glad to have been able to avail of the public bus. “I feel really glad to be able to use the public bus now. I will finally be able to go to my friend’s place who lives in the hill district,” she said. 

Recently, the hill districts of Churachandpur and Kangpokpi witnessed the mass burial of over 80 deceased who had lost their lives during the seven-month-long ethnic strife. Presently, over 50,000 tribal residents remain displaced. 

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