IMPHAL, May 18 (PTI): The Assam Riffles cleared roadblocks set up by various organisations on national highway 37 and escorted truck columns carrying essential supplies to Imphal.
Truck movement to the Imphal Valley stopped due to roadblocks and fear amongst transporters after clashes broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
As movement of trucks stopped stock of essential supplies in the state started dwindling and was beginning to reach critical levels.
Army and Assam Rifles stepped in to assure protection to vehicles carrying essential goods from/to Imphal, a Defence spokesperson said.
On May 15, a convoy of 28 vehicles including trucks, fuel tankers, JCBs, carrying rice, sugar, pulses and fuel moved under escort of CRPF and Manipur Police from Noney to Imphal. Prophylactic domination of the area was provided by Assam Rifles to ensure safe passage to the convoy which reached Imphal safely by afternoon. In addition, monitoring was also ensured through Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.
Around 100 vehicles were moved on May 16 and 17.
Security Forces are committed to restore normalcy and the commencement of movement of the vehicles on NH 37 is another step towards normalcy in Manipur, the Defence Spokesperson said.
Clashes broke out in Manipur after a ‘Tribal Solidarity March’ was organised in the hill districts on May 3 to protest against the Meitei community’s demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.
The violence was preceded by tension over the eviction of Kuki villagers from reserve forest land, which had led to a series of smaller agitations.
Meiteis account for about 53 per cent of Manipur’s population and live mostly in the Imphal Valley. Tribals — Nagas and Kukis — constitute another 40 per cent of the population and reside in the hill districts.
The ethnic clashes claimed over 70 lives and some 10,000 army and para-military personnel had to be deployed to bring back normalcy in the northeastern state.