IMPHAL, March 3 2017: The full bench of Manipur High Court has declared the over four-month-old economic blockade of the state imposed by the United Naga Council (UNC) as “illegal”, an official confirmed on Monday.
The full bench, comprising Chief Justice Rakesh Ranjan Prasad, and Justices N Koteswor and K Nobin, passed the order in this regard on 3 March.
The high court has been hearing a Public Interest Litigation, filed by RK Joysana, expressing concern over the situation arising as a result of the blockade.
Gaidon Kamei, president, and Stephen Lamkang, publicity secretary, of the United Naga Council (UNC) which is imposing the indefinite economic blockade appeared before the high court.
Six other office bearers of the United Naga Council who failed to appear before the court were given a last chance to do so on 23 March. Both Kamei and Lamkang were remanded in judicial custody till then.
The high court ruling said that the persons and organisation imposing the economic blockade are “violating the fundamental rights of the citizens”.
“This is done to achieve some political wishes at the misery of the people,” it said adding that the state works are obstructed.
“The blockade imposed by the UNC is hereby declared illegal as per directives of the honourable Supreme Court,” the bench ruled.
Tension has been simmering in Manipur due to an economic blockade called by the UNC in the state starting from 1 November. National Highways (NH) 37 and NH 2 have been badly affected due to the blockade.
Although the blockade started on 1 November when the state government was planning to create new districts by bifurcating the existing Naga-dominated areas, it intensified after the government ignored the agitation and went ahead to declare Jirbam as a full-fledged district.
The state government also created new districts of Kangpokpi, Tengoupal, Pharzol, Kakching, Noney and Kamjongin.
According to the UNC, the creation of new districts out of Naga territory without their consent is a deliberate act to suppress the rights of Nagas in the state.