Imphal, June 15: One organisation withdrew its highway blockade in Manipur but another stayed put, keeping the state under an economic cloud.
Yesterday, the Naga Students Federation announced it would temporarily withdraw its blockade on NH 39 and NH 53. Some vehicles plied through Nagaland this evening. But the All Naga Students Association, Manipur (Ansam), today said it would continue to block the two highways.
Ansam said the blockade would continue until the Okram Ibobi Singh government met Naga organisations demands such as withdrawing wanted tags on Naga leaders and withdrawl of state forces from the Naga areas. Its principal demand is that of scrapping the autonomous district council elections for tribals in the hills.
The Nagas regard areas of Manipur as part of their proposed Greater Nagaland. Hence their opposition to tribal elections in the hills where they have a sizeable presence.
The forces that the Centre had yesterday said it would send to Manipur and Nagaland to end the blockade on NH 39 are yet to arrive.
Sources in Delhi said the first convoy of supplies with security would move to Manipur along the highway on Friday.
Sources here said the deployment was likely to be made after Union home secretary G.K. Pillai meets Manipur chief secretary D.S. Poonia and Nagaland chief secretary Lalthara in New Delhi tomorrow. The meeting will discuss the steps to be taken by the two state governments to keep NH 39 (the Imphal-Dimapur highway) open.
A home ministry release today said: At the request of the government of Manipur, the ministry of home affairs has decided to shortly deploy additional paramilitary forces on NH 39 to remove the blockade and keep the highway open for unhindered movement of traffic and goods. The release added that Union home minister P. Chidambaram had requested the chief ministers of Nagaland and Manipur to take steps to end the crisis.