Manipur: Supplies hit by blockades by tribals, Meitei women

The blocking of key roads at several areas — from the valley to the hill districts in the south — has become a new challenge
Last Updated : 16 June 2023, 13:13 IST

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Supplies of essential items including baby food and medicines and movement of security forces have been hit in several areas of Manipur because of blockades of both the National Highway leading to the state by tribals as well as at least six arterial roads by women-led vigilante groups.

Sources added that in the past one week, 4,000 trucks carrying essential supplies reached the valley via NH 37, which is the only road that is open for now.

The blocking of key roads at several areas — from the valley to the hill districts in the south — has become a new challenge for the Assam Rifles and the Army, a source said on Friday.

"As of now, NH-2 and several key arteries are blocked in the state, badly affecting transportation of supplies & even delays timely response. Since women-led vigilante groups or Meira Paibis are in the forefront of the blockades on several roads, the security forces are finding it difficult to clear it using force," the Army source said.

Gyaneswari, a former general secretary of Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (AMKIL), a prominent women NGO of the Northeastern state, blamed the blockade by tribals of the National Highway No 2 for the supply crisis, but also admitted that Meira Paibis (Meitei womens’ groups) have also barricaded six arterial roads to allegedly "prevent miscreants from entering villages with weapons and bombs. She added, “The Centre needs to act immediately and solve the crisis".

The lack of women contingents of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) to handle women protestors is leading to delays in carrying out operations and sending supplies to affected areas, the army source said.

According to sources, the six arterial roads that have been blocked are Bishnupur-Churachandpur; Thoubal-Nangjing; Thoubal-Yairipok; Yairipok-Chandrakong; Kakching-Lamkai, and Uripok-Iroisemba.

The source claimed whenever a mob plans to target a particular area, its leaders' instruct women vigilantes to block the roads.

"They are using these women vigilantes as shield to prevent security forces from entering the affected village and controlling the situation," he said.

He added that at times roads are barricaded forcing security forces to walk on foot with heavy equipment on their backs. "This is done to slow down their movement allowing miscreants to flee after attacking," he added.

Published 16 June 2023, 13:13 IST

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