On 11th April 2010, two Naga students groups called for an economic blockade in Manipur.
The two groups - All-Naga Students' Association of Manipur (ANSAM) and Naga Students Federation(NSF) – called for the blockade on National Highway 39 (Imphal-Dimapur) and National Highway 53 (Imphal-Jiribam) protesting elections to the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in Manipur hills and Manipur government's decision to ban entry of Thuingaleng Muivah, the general secretary of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isaac-Muivah group) to visit his ancestral village, Somdal, in the state's Ukhrul district.
The blockade continued for 69 days which resulted in an unprecedented crisis in Manipur, a landlocked state where all supplies reach through in trucks. Once the highways – practically the state’s economic lifeline - were blocked, supply trucks couldn’t move in. Within days, the state witnessed shortages of all essentials, including life saving drugs, foodstuffs and fuel. Finally, on June 18, the All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur suspended the blockade on the two national highways, but by then the sufferings of common citizens in the state had reached an agonizing high.
The video 'Economic Blockade Cripples Manipur' by IndiaUnheard community correspondent Achungmei Kamei captures this suffering of ordinary citizens who bore the brunt this man-made economic crisis every day. As a community member, Achungmei herself shared this suffering. The blockade created a huge fuel shortage which, in turn, crippled the transport service. Petrol prices, shot up to Rs 160 a litre and auto and bus fares multiplied. Due to this, shooting of the video itself became an uphill task for our correspondent as she couldn’t travel. While shooting, she was also treated with suspicion and disrespect by many as she was a Naga tribal. Even after the end of the blockade, her family, like thousands others, do not have cooking gas as cylinders are not available.
Applauds for our Community Corresspondent Satya Banchor! He acted as a strong catalyst in bringing about this change in the lives of the poor tribals.
Amit Topno joined Video Volunteers in 2012, and worked extensively on various community issues without fear! This video is a tribute to Amit's courageous work.