| Luwang |
Imphal, June 10: Police today took into custody two leaders of the Opposition Manipur Peoples Party — president Nimai Chand Luwang and working committee member S. Dhanajoy Singh — who were on a fast-unto-death from June 7 to demand the lifting of the economic blockade.
However, a three-member team of the MPP — the president of its youth front, M. Maniton, vice-president Th. Dilip and chairman of the minority cell, Md Aurangazeb — continued with the fast at the same venue after the arrest of their leaders.
Luwang and Dhananjoy began their hunger strike on a three-point charter of demands to reopen the Imphal-Dimapur and Imphal-Jiribam highways, pullout of NSCN (I-M) leader Th. Muivah from near the Manipur border and flushout of the outfit’s cadres from the state.
The police arrested Luwang and Dhananjoy at 11am today, took them to the RIMS here for treatment and produced them before the court of judicial magistrate, Shantibala Devi.
The court remanded the two Opposition leaders in judicial custody for 15 days. They refused to apply for bail.
The central committee of the MPP is meeting tomorrow and leader Okram Joy Singh said the central committee would chalk out the further course of action.
The supply of essential commodities to Manipur was disrupted since April 11 after the All Naga Students Association, Manipur, imposed an indefinite blockade along the two routes against holding of elections to six Autonomous District Councils in the five hill districts.
While chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh’s government is using the Imphal-Jiribam highway to bring in the supplies with security escorts, it could not reopen the Imphal-Dimapur highway because of a blockade imposed on Manipur vehicles by the Naga Students Federation in neighbouring Nagaland.
The supply along 222km-Imphal-Jiribam highway has also been hampered by bad road and bridge conditions, frequent landslides as well as attacks on the passing trucks by blockade supporters.
A ministerial team that travelled to Jiribam to see the condition of the road and security situation came back this morning and submitted a report to the chief minister.
An official source said the government would take up measures to improve the condition of the road and bridges along the Imphal-Jiribam road on a “war footing”.
Government spokesperson N. Biren Singh said it was planning to provide security escorts twice a week for trucks along the Imphal-Jiribam highway.