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Normal vehicular movement on the 224-km Imphal-Jiribam section of NH-37 has been severely hit as the 100-hour blockade called by All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) commenced on Sunday.
The blockade was called in protest against the Manipur government’s failure to book the culprits behind the September 3 incident in which some AMSU activists and artistes were allegedly assaulted by NSCN (I-M) cadres.
Owing to the blockade that began on midnight, no vehicle from Jiribam reached Imphal on Sunday. Similarly, no vehicle left Imphal for Jiribam during the day fearing possible attack by AMSU volunteers.
Several vehicles, including Imphal-bound goods-laden trucks and passenger vehicles coming from Assam side, were also stranded at various places in the border district.
Reports said a large number of AMSU volunteers in Jiribam came out on the streets in Kotlein and Goladhon areas and enforced the blockade. The volunteers also piled up stones and logs at various places with an intention to disturb traffic movement.
While enforcing the blockade, the volunteers also raised various slogans against prejudicial activities like collection of illegal taxes and harassing civilians travelling on the national highways by armed underground cadres, besides demanding flushing out of NSCN (I-M) cadres from Manipur.
Talking to reporters at a protest site, AMSU vice-president Peterson Laishram warned that, if the State government failed to book the culprits involved in the assault of union members and artistes during the period of 100-hour blockade, the student body was ready to intensify the stir further.
He alleged that no concrete step to address the demand of AMSU had been taken up by the State government so far.
“The government is giving assurances only through the media and these have not translated into work,” he stressed, pointing out that the government talked about sending police commandos and army personnel to hunt down the culprits, but no operation had been launched so far to nab them.
Laishram further demanded that the State government must take concrete steps to check collection of various taxes allegedly by NSCN (I-M) and other armed groups from vehicles and travellers on the national highways.
The government must immediately end the threats posed by armed groups to travellers and people residing along the national highways, he demanded.