8th Aug 2021 11:08:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News

Although the economic blockade in Lailapur, the last town of Assam near its border with Mizoram that prevented trucks carrying essentials from entering the neighbouring state was finally lifted late on Friday night, the fact is it took a full 12 days to remove the ‘deadlock’, raising the question why it was allowed to be continued for such a long stretch amid the pandemic. The economic barricade was not imposed by the government of Assam, but by some local organisations in Cachar district as a retaliatory measure to avenge the death of five Assam Police personnel. At a time when the two states are engaged in resolving their inter-state border disputes, tactics like economic embargoes will only deepen the fault lines.
Going strictly by the timeline following the July 26 bloodshed, it was from the evening of the day itself the ‘unofficial’ economic obstruction by small groups of people, backed later by some organisations in Cachar district started. Not only essentials, it has been reported that oxygen cylinders, oxygen plant materials, RAT kits and life-saving medicines were blocked. All appeals from various organisations in Mizoram to lift the ban fell on deaf ears, compelling its health minister to convey the state’s desperation through a video message on Friday. While lamenting that it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage patients in dire need of oxygen due to gradual exhaustion of stock, he termed the instance as “an act of arrogance that is clearly in violation of basic human rights and the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.” Before it, the government of Mizoram also sought an urgent intervention of the Centre and the letter addressed to the Union Home Secretary referred to a similar blockade imposed by Assam last year that lasted for 25 days. Local level resistance, however weighty it might apparently seem, cannot sustain long if there is no political backing, directly or obliquely and it’s a commonality not only in the Northeast but across India. These people remain behind the curtain with remote control and it’s unsurprising that there are allegations of a repetition of the ‘practice’ in this episode too. Both in the recent past and before, economic blockade as a tool of extracting ‘revenge’ has been frequently used in the NE and the continuity is a notorious trend.
Ending the inter-state border disputes that have kept a number of states in the region at loggerheads with each other since decades will take time, patience and above all a careful nurturing of the trust factor. However, if the evil culture of ‘blocking roads’ continues to remain in practice, there will be little success and a pan-NE fraternity will also be elusive. 

Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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