Imphal: Normal life was affected in all five hill districts of Manipur as a 36-hour general strike by a hill-based committee began here early Monday morning to press its demand for separate `Kukiland` by reorganising the state.
Official reports said markets, shops, business setups and educational institutions remained closed in most parts of the hills, particularly Kuki-settled areas of Senapati, Ukhrul, Tamenglong, Churachandpur and Chandel districts.
The strike called by the Kuki State Demand Committee (KSDC) started at 5 AM in the morning.
Transport services between Manipur and neighbouring states were also cancelled as the two major national highways Imphal-Dimapur-Guwahati (39) and Imphal-Jiribam-Silchar pass through Kuki-settled areas, sources said.
The buses have also stopped plying between Imphal and hill district headquarters, they added.
A spokesman of the KSDC said after the 36-hour general strike they would impose indefinite economic blockade on all routes in the state, including the two national highways, till the central and state government initiated steps for holding talks with the KSDC.
He said the central government had earlier informed the KSDC in writing to hold talks with it some months ago but they had remained silent over the issue saying that the state government was reluctant to hold talks.
Further agitations programme would be decided during the indefinite economic blockade, KSDC sources said, adding that goods would not be allowed to be transported to the district headquarters from Imphal during the blockade.
Various civil organisations including All Manipur Students Union and state government have strongly objected to Manipur`s division saying they would not allow it at any cost.
Official sources said other alternative ways were being looked into to solve the problem of KSDC.