Even Press is not spared from Meitei economic blockade
Ukhrul.May 22: Freedom of press is fast becoming a lost glory in Manipur following the snatching of bundles of news papers from Ukhrul bound bus this morning. About ten volunteers allegedly belonging to the Meitei community lay in wait at Saijang village in Imphal east District and seized all the goods carrying in the bus including the newspapers. However, there is no report of causing any injuring to the passengers.
The act of confiscating all goods carrying out of Imphal valley was done to counter Naga Students Federation (NSF)’s banning of Manipur vehicles from entering Nagaland. The Naga Student’s Federation which is the apex student’s body of all Naga student has banned Manipur vehicles from entering Nagaland and other Naga areas following Manipur governments refusal to allow entry of the student leaders led by its President Mutsukhoyo Yhobu on their way to Oinam village in Manipur for their Assembly 4 May Last.
Throwing fury at the student’s body in view of the fast depleting food stuff in the State the Meitei community countered by seizing all goods carrying out of Imphal valley.
The economic blockade imposed by the Meitei begins since 8 May last. Meitei volunteers were stationed at Saijang area on the way to Ukhrul District, keithelmanpi area enroute to Tamenglong and Sekmai area along NH.39. The volunteers shouting “let’s see who is who” “No force on earth can break Manipur” etc stop all vehicles travelling toward the hill Districts and seized all goods even including half drink mineral water.
Reports reaching the media in Ukhrul said that not even medicine consignments were spared by the Meitei volunteers. Interestingly, the incident happen every day right at the nose of Manipur police station at Napet pali, some two kilometres from Saijang village on NH 150. A young lady Ms. V. Catharine interacting with the media at Ukhrul said “ as I stay at Delhi I was carrying some chocolates for my sisters but that too was snatch away even inspite of my plea that the chocolate is nor purchase from Imphal”. S. Keishing, another person who complains of the Meitei excessiveness is the seizing of mobile handsets worth 5 lacs at Seijang said “they rudely snatch away my goods saying no goods should go out of Imphal valley”. So far 20 TV sets, 50 kgs of salt, 25 kgs of sugar, two box of mineral water, more than 100 pices of blankets, three boxes of Mary kay cosmetic consignments, Rs. Five lacs worth of mobile phone handsets, different types of eateries including the locally made ‘kapok’ and ‘ngari ‘, different item of electronic goods, boxes of medicines belonging to a private pharmacy at Ukhrul, six boxes of cosmetics apart from others has been reportedly seized at Seijang so far by the Meitei blockade volunteers.However there is no report of any disturbance to vehicle movements. Interestingly, the Meitei volunteers allow goods carrying from the hill districts to enter Manipur. The Meitei’s has been imposing this economic blockade in all the Naga districts barring Churachanpur District. To evade the blockade the people of Ukhrul District has started transporting goods via Kohima along NH.150.
Seizing of News papers meant for Ukhrul District came as a surprise to Media organizations in Ukhrul District. The matter was reported to All Manipur Working Journalists union (AMWJU) by Ukhrul District Journalist Association (UDJA). The news papers include that of 500 copies of The Sangai Express, 300 copies of Hueiyen Lanpao, 300 copies of Imphal Free Press and other national papers. In the absence of news papers in the hill districts news papers were daily brought up from Imphal. Ukhrul police, when contacted by media at Ukhrul, said they have informed about the happenings to their counterpart at Napetpali some days back. But till date there is no report of any security measures to stop the unwanted act of seizing goods.