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139-day Manipur economic blockade to be lifted tonight

139-day Manipur economic blockade to be lifted tonight”

In a major development, the United Naga Council (UNC) in Manipur on Sunday made a decision to lift the economic blockade of National Highways 2 and 53 from Sunday midnight. The decision for lifting was resolved in a tripartite talk which involved United Naga Council, government of India and Manipur government.

The meeting led by Satyendra Garg, joint secretary (north east) at the Union ministry of home affairs, agreed to "create (a) conducive environment for the democratic process of consultation and dialogue".

"The government of Manipur will unconditionally release arrested UNC leaders and all the cases against Naga tribal leaders and students leaders will also be closed", it said. Earlier on November 15 November, 2016, tripartite talks with Government of Manipur and UNC were called at New Delhi to discuss the economic blockade, which were not attended by Government of Manipur.

The economic blockade has been lifted on a day when BJP legislator V Hangkhalian is sworn in as Pro-Tem Speaker of the 60-member Manipur Assembly along with other state legislators.

This followed an agreement reached during talks involving the Naga group and representatives of the central and Manipur governments.

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Chief Minister N Biren Singh had earlier said his government's top priority would be to solve the four-month-long economic blockade that has caused enormous hardship to the people. She had also expressed concern at the picketing of government offices in all the Naga dominated areas in the hill districts and appealed to all concerned to discontinue such agitation in the interest of the people of the state so as to enable the government functionaries to discharge their responsibilities without any interruption.

Manipur had been reeling under acute shortage of all essential commodities, including fuel, due to the blockade.

Creation of seven new districts in Manipur prompted UNC to initiate the protests against the incumbent Ibobi Singh-led Congress government in the state. The blockade which was imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) on November 1 previous year has been in force since then.

The Manipur Chief Minister can induct three more ministers.

Saying that the next round of tripartite talks would be held in a month's time at the political level, the UNC also expressed appreciation of the initiative and new approach of the state government to address core issues.

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