HC declares Manipur economic blockade “illegal”

Shillong, March 7 : Manipur High Court on Monday declared the economic blockade imposed by United Naga Council (UNC) on national highways in Manipur as illegal. The full bench, comprising Chief Justice Rakesh Ranjan Prasad, and Justices N. Koteswor and K. Nobin, passed the order while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), filed by R.K. Joysana, expressing concern over the situation arising as a result of the blockade. 

The court ruled that “persons/organization responsible for imposing the economic blockade along the national highway has been violating the fundamental rights of the citizens in order to satisfy their political wish at the cost of miseries of the people which has never been in the interest of the state.” Therefore, in the interest of the state, the High Court in an order declared the economic blockade imposed by United Naga Council as illegal. 

Earlier, during the hearing, 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 UNC who failed to appear before the court were given a last chance to do so on March 23. Both Kamei and Lamkang were remanded in judicial custody till till the next hearing. “The blockade imposed by the UNC is hereby declared illegal as per directives of the honourable Supreme Court,” the bench ruled.Normal movement of vehicles ferrying essential items along NH-2 and NH-37 remain affected since the economic blockade imposed by UNC commenced on November 1 last year. Considering the hardship being faced by the people owing to non-availability of essential commodities including petroleum products, the High Court has directed GOC-57 Mountain Division and IGAR (South) to take up adequate and effective measures along the areas under their control on NH-2 and NH-37. They have also been given the order to arrest any suspicious person found/trying to create hindrance on the movement of vehicular traffic on NH-2 and NH-37. . The court ruling further directed the Central government to provide 72 companies of paramilitary forces at the disposal of the state government, to be deployed in all areas including those which were identified as vulnerable areas by the combined headquarters in recent times. Court also directed State government to take measures to increase the frequency of convoy at least 15 to 20 in a month particularly over NH-37.

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