PM hails lifting of economic blockade
Source: The Sangai Express

New Delhi, August 11: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday welcomed the ending of the 49-day long economic blockade of Manipur.

In a message to the All Naga Students Association of Manipur (ANSAM) and other organisations, the Prime Minister said that he �appreciated and welcomed the gesture to voluntarily lift the blockade in Manipur from today keeping in view the difficulties being faced by the ordinary citizens of the State and the sentiments expressed by the Home Minister and the Prime Minister�.

The message further went on to say that the �Prime Minister appeals to all groups and parties to settle all grievances, perceived and real, through a process of dialogue and discussion, in a peaceful manner and in a spirit of mutual understanding and accommodation�.

The economic blockade of Manipur was suspended temporarily from 12 noon on Thursday.

The decision to suspend the blockade was taken at a joint meeting of the ANSAM and the NSF in Kohima on Wednesday, informed sources said.

The NSF and ANSAM had consulted NGOs before taking the decision, the sources said.

The ANSAM had organised the economic blockade since June 22 in protest against a Manipur Government�s decision to declare June 18 a holiday every year to observe �State integrity day�.

The blockade, however, did not affect movement of trucks along the Silchar-Imphal NH 53, official sources said.

The ANSAM also responded to the invitation by Manipur Chief Minister, O Ibobi Singh for talks and added the State Government should create a conducive atmosphere for a dialogue.

In the event of the failure of the Manipur Govt to resolve the issue, the Naga students would be compelled to take an appropriate course of action for which the Ibobi Singh administration would be held responsible, the sources said.

Sources close to Ibobi Singh have welcomed the decision of the ANSAM.