ATSUM extends shutdown; to impose indefinite economic blockade in Manipur hill areas
"The total shutdown shall continue till 6 am August 5, after which an economic blockade shall be imposed in all the hill areas until and unless our demand is met.”
Updated 5 Aug 2022, 3:40 pm
The All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) on Thursday extended its emergency shutdown till Friday 6 am. It also said it will impose indefinite economic blockade in all the hill areas of Manipur thereafter, since no amicable solution could be arrived with the state government over the issue of ADC Bill 2021 so far.
“Due to the autocratic attitude of the state government no amicable solution has arrived so far on ADC Bill's impasse. Therefore, the total shutdown shall continue till 6 am August 5, after which an economic blockade shall be imposed in all the hill areas until and unless our demand is met,” the apex body of the tribal students stated in a release issued on Thursday.
The ATSUM also stated that “the Hill Areas Committee members and the state government shall be solely held responsible for any untoward incident in the aftermath”.
The student body appeals to the general public for cooperation and support to the movement for tabling of HAC recommended ADC Bill 2021 in the second session of the 12th state Assembly and its demand for immediate release of the arrested union leaders.
Following the ATSUM’s decision, all tribal bodies in Kangpokpi district spearheaded by the Kuki Students Organisation (KSO) Sadar Hills has decided to impose an indefinite economic blockade in the district after the extension of ATSUM’s emergency shutdown ends at 6 am Friday, reports IFP correspondent in Kangpokpi.
The 24-hour ATSUM's emergency shutdown in the entire hill districts of the state in protest against the arrest of its five leaders ended at 6 pm Thursday. However, ATSUM extended its total shutdown for another 12 hours till 6 am Friday (August 5).
In Ukhrul district, the agitation will continue in the form of indefinite economic blockade and picketing of government offices, the Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS) stated and extended its gratitude to the general public for the cooperation.
The tribal bodies of Kangpokpi had strictly enforced the 24-hour total shutdown of ATSUM along the National Highway-2 in Kangpokpi district on Thursday.
Volunteers at Kangpokpi town and Gamgiphai were seen strictly blocking the highway while business establishments in the district and Kangpokpi town remained closed for the second day.
While continuing its humanity service, the volunteers brought one heart patient stranded at Kangpokpi to the Kangpokpi District Hospital, and he was later shifted to Imphal in an ambulance.
According to KSO Sadar Hills, the tribal bodies of Kangpokpi will continue to support and endorse ATSUM's decision to impose economic blockade.
Five ATSUM leaders along with four other members were arrested by the Manipur Police early Tuesday ahead of its proposed bandh called to press for tabling and passing of the Manipur (Hill Areas) ADC Bill, 2021 recommended by the Hill Areas Committee.
The arrested leaders included Paotinthang Lupheng from Khomunnom village, Churachandpur; Andria Sinruwang from Unopat village, Chandel district; Khaiminlen Doungel from Hengjang Leimakhong, Kangpokpi district; Marankhai Awungshi from Tashar village, Ukhrul presently staying at Nagaram Imphal and John H Pulamte from Rengkai, Churachandpur district, presently staying at Zone III, National Game Village, Imphal West.
Despite the demand for their release, Chief Judicial Magistrate, Imphal West on Wednesday remanded the arrested five members of All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) in police custody for four days till August 6, while the other four members were released on Wednesday.
The investigating officer submitted that calling of bandh/blockade or enforcement of bandh/blockade are offences of criminal conspiracy under section 120-A IPC punishable under 120-B(2) IPC and Section 503 and 506 IPC. It shall also amount to commission of offence under Section 141 IPC and punishable under section 143 IPC.
Meanwhile, several protesting students said they will intensify the protest if the government failed to release the ATSUM leaders immediately. More than 500 students from various colleges and universities in Imphal took part in a protest held on Thursday.
The protest on Thursday was organised at Adimjati, Chingmeirong, Imphal, by the All College Tribal Students Union Imphal (ACTSUI), the Manipur University Tribal Students Union (MUTSU), Dhanamanjuri University Tribal Students Union (DUTSU) and the Joint Tribal Secondary School Union (JTSSU).