Citing undue harassment by economic blockade, TRNYF writes to CM for completion of Foothill Road

Mokokchung, November 21 (MExN): The Tsurangkong Range Naga Youth Front (TRNYF) has written to the Chief Minister of Nagaland drawing attention to the ongoing indefinite total blockade of Mariani-Mokokchung National Highway 702(D) by agitators at Sonowal township, near Mariani in Assam’s Jorhat district. 

In the letter, a copy of which was issued to the media on Saturday, TRNYF President Bendang Wati and Secretary Shiluyongdang stated that as long as the Naga Foothill Road (renamed as Trans Nagaland Highway) remains ‘just a lip service,’ and “Nagas along the border belt will continue to suffer economically and mentally at the hands of Assamese people.”

It underscored the plight of the Naga people living in the areas bordering Assam stating that “the people living along the border belt has been subjected to undue harassment” ever since the beginning of border issues between the two states.

“Road blockades are enforced for trivial matters with the sole intention to derive advantage out of the Nagas,” it maintained. 

The present indefinite total blockade of Mariani-Mokokchung National Highway 702(D) restricting all Nagaland bound vehicles at New Sonowal, TRNYF claimed, reflected the “existing narrow and immature mindset” led by some selfish leaders from Assam disrupting the “peaceful co-existence of the two states.” 

It said that Nagas should not be placed at a disadvantaged position solely because Nagas commute or travel through Assam, while also pointing out that the act of blockading national highways is illegal as per the National Highways Act 1956, sub-section 8(1).

It is beyond reasons as to why the Government of Assam turns a blind eye against such illegal activities, it added.

“The increasing highway blockades at the whims and fancy of every Tom, Dick and Harry in Assam with no action taken against such illegal blockades and its leaders have emboldened every Assam based organisations/civil societies/groups to impose such bandhs against the Nagas,” the letter alleged. 

To this end, the Front said that though they are peaceful people, their patience and tolerance should not be taken as cowardice or weakness.

“We have no other option but to stand up against such illegal activities and criminals,” it noted, adding that the “cascading effects make us to believe that we can also survive without this NH 702(D) and intends to counter block the highway.”