'Blockades in Manipur a gross violation of law'
In a statement, the Home Ministry voiced concern over the ongoing blockade on NH 37 in Manipur and the consequent shortages of essential commodities faced by the people of the state. It asked the United Naga Council (UNC) to remove the blockade, saying all contentious issues need to be settled peacefully by democratic and lawful means.
"The Government of India is firmly committed to maintaining rule of law. It considers blockades anywhere in India a gross violation of law and a crime against humanity causing untold suffering to countless humans. No individual or organisation will be allowed to take the law into their own hands," the Ministry said.
It is hoped that state government will act with responsibility and maturity to ensure both maintenance of supplies to Manipur as well as social harmony. Ministry of Home Affairs will provide additional forces to the state government if necessary, it said.
Manipur is facing an acute crisis of essential commodities and petrol due to the indefinite blockade called by the UNC in the state.
The blockade has continued for more than 40 days, bringing transportation services to a standstill due to scarcity of petrol, apart from hampering other businesses.
It has adversely affected the people of Manipur, particularly those living in the Valley.
The statement said that the Centre has remained committed to ensuring that the routes to Manipur are open and remain accessible to all including supplies of petroleum products, and other essential commodities including foodstuff.
Accordingly, it had placed 15 companies (around 100 personnel in each company) of central forces stationed in Manipur at the disposal of the state government.
Last week, another 15 companies of central forces were made available to the state government to enable the state government to have the blockade lifted.
"The Government of India expects all to cooperate with the Government of India's resolve to both maintain rule of law and supplies of commodities to Manipur," the statement said.
It also appealed to the United Naga Council to remove its illegal blockade in view of the difficulties faced by the people of Manipur.
"All contentious issues need to be settled peacefully by democratic and lawful means," the statement said.