As Manipur grapples with prolonged ethnic conflicts, the Supreme Court has intervened, urging both the Central and state governments to ensure the continuous supply of essential goods such as food and medicines to people affected by economic blockades in certain border areas of the state.


A bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala has also directed the Manipur state government to explore all possible solutions to address the blockades that are severely disrupting essential supplies to the affected population. The court has even suggested considering air-dropping supplies if necessary.


The bench emphasized, “We direct that both the Union government and the state of Manipur should ensure that basic supplies of food, medicines, and other essential items continue to be distributed in the affected areas so that no part of the population suffers due to existing or anticipated blockades.”


Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, representing the court-appointed committee, highlighted the blockades in the Moreh area of Manipur, where people are reportedly struggling to obtain even basic food rations. She also raised concerns about outbreaks of chickenpox and measles in some relief camps due to the shortage of supplies. In response, Chief Justice Chandrachud suggested that the committee should directly communicate with the state government to address these issues promptly.


Additionally, the bench instructed senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi to share a note on the destruction of 642 religious places, as claimed by an intervener, with the committee and the solicitor general for appropriate action.


Senior advocate Jaideep Gupta, representing one of the parties, pointed out the committee’s limitations in dealing with economic blockades. Senior advocate Indira Jaising, also representing a petitioner, emphasized that the problem in the Moreh area was the blockades themselves, and the committee couldn’t simply order the armed forces to remove them.


The Chief Justice acknowledged the complexity of the situation, with blockades being carried out by local people, making resolution challenging. He emphasized that addressing blockades went beyond just instructing the armed forces.


Another counsel, representing a party, highlighted that humanitarian aid should extend beyond the Moreh area, as blockades were affecting various places along National Highway-2, which stretches from Assam to Mizoram via Manipur and Nagaland.


The bench assured that all the issues raised would be taken into account, with the solicitor general providing updates during the next hearing scheduled for Wednesday. It also instructed the solicitor general to look into standardizing compensation for victims of violence.


Lastly, when informed about numerous unclaimed bodies in morgues that needed dignified disposal to prevent the spread of diseases, the bench emphasized the government’s responsibility in handling this matter.


Mokokchung Times

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