Strife torn situation makes dull Christmas for Manipur

| Updated: Dec 26, 2016 14:24 IST

Imphal (Manipur)[India], Dec. 26 (ANI): Christmas this year for tribals in Manipur was like never before, as this year it was held in the shadow of politics that is being played in the run-up to assembly elections in the state early next year. The polls will be fought amid a thick overlap of ethnic tension, arising out of a blockade and a counter-blockade and resultant bout of violent incidents. Manipur is facing economic hardship for the past 55 days, thanks to the United Naga Council (UNC). "The situation is worse than before, but somehow we are managing some sort of celebration," said James Karki. "People are suffering a lot. I would urge that if people of UNC rethink about their step, keeping in mind the peace in the region then everything can be solved," Zeliarong Union president Amu Kamei said. Tribals settled in the Imphal Valley usually celebrate Christmas with near and dear ones in their villages in the hills. This year, they are all stuck up in the valley in the wake of the tension. Similarly, the Meiteis (Manipuris), who are predominantly Hindus, are stranded in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur hills due to an economic blockade enforced by the influential Naga organisation United Naga Council (UNC), on two National Highways that traverse Naga areas. Manipur has become like a football stadium where the playground is Imphal Valley and the galleries are the State's hills. The Meiteis are in a large majority in the valley while various tribal communities, mainly Nagas and Kukis, are settled in the hills. So, if a blockade, enforced on the two National Highways, prevents goods-laden vehicles from plying to the valley, a counter-blockade in the valley chokes supplies to the hills as goods are ferried from the valley to the hills. (ANI)