Manipur signature campaign against highway violence
Source: Manipur Mail

Imphal, September 30: The United Committee Manipur (UCM), an apex body will soon start a 'mass awareness signature campaign' against lack of security and frequent violence by armed ultras on Imphal-Dimapur NH 39 and Imphal-Jiribam NH 53.The decision to start the signature campaign was taken in joint meeting of the UCM and representatives of various other social organizations yesterday, UCM information and public relations secretary, Joy Chingakham said today.

Deploring the half-hearted response from the Centre and authorities to the demand for adequate security along the highways, Chingakham told PTI that UCM with the support of different organizations would continue its agitation till their demand was met.

A Manipur delegation comprising political parties and UCM leaders had recently discussed the highway violence with Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in Delhi but there was no settlement on immediate deployment of adequate security along the highways.

Chief Minister Ibobi Singh had led the delegation.

UCM information and public relations secretary said the delegation had informed the Centre about the frequent lootings extortion and huge collection of 'goods and roads taxes' from Manipur-bound vehicles by armed militants on the highways in the region.

The delegation had also informed the Central leaders about the September 5 incident in which armed Nagas looted Manipur-bound vehicles and brutally molested female passengers at Piphema in Nagaland, he said.

Chingakham said UCM was very much aware of the extreme inconveniences caused by UCM-sponsored blockade of Imphal-Dimapur NH 39 since September 7 after the Piphema incident and asked what was the alternative to drew attention of the authorities, to highway violence.

He recalled how hard the people of Manipur had fought for granting statehood to Manipur, for inclusion of Manipuri language in the eighth schedule of the constitution and for withdrawal of the Centre-NSCN (I-M) ceasefire from the state.

There was no other means to fight unitedly for adequate security along the highways, Chingakham said.

Meanwhile, several organizations in separate statements extended their support to the UCM-sponsored agitation for deployment of adequate forces along the NH 39 and NH 53 which are considered main lifelines of Manipur.