Updated 3 Aug 2022, 12:31 pm
Five executive members of the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) were arrested by the police on Tuesday after the former announced to imposed total bandh in the hill districts of Manipur. Following the arrest of ATSUM leaders, emergency shutdown began at Kangpokpi town Tuesday.
A senior officer of Imphal West told Imphal Free Press said as many as five executive members of ATSUM have been arrested. Sources said that ex-ATSUM leaders, including John Pulamte, Ngachonmi Chamroy and Seth Shatsang were also picked up by police late in the evening from Nagaram.
Following the arrest, ATSUM announced the emergency shutdown by 6 pm on Tuesday if the arrested members were not released. In response to the call, the total shutdown had begun in Kangpokpi, Churachandpur and Moreh.
Volunteers of KSO Sadar Hills, TSA Sadar Hills, Zillai and others were seen blocking the highway from 7 pm at Kangpokpi town. Vehicles, including trucks, were stranded owing to the emergency shutdown.
Against this backdrop, the Manipur Tribal Affairs and Hills Minister Letpao Haokip Tuesday introduced the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils (Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2022 and Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2022 during the ongoing full budget session of the state Assembly.
Interestingly, the introduced bill was not a part of agenda of the house made available to the media on Tuesday. It is yet to be ascertained whether the bills introduced by the Manipur Tribal Affairs and Hills Minister is the replica of the Hill Areas Committee recommended ADC Bill, 2021.
The ADC Bill, 2021 demanded by the ATSUM to be tabled in the Assembly sought greater autonomy for the Hill Areas Committee as well as the Autonomous District Councils in amendment of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971.
The student body appealed to all private and government educational institutes, government offices, business establishments, private vehicles, truckers, and any other transporters and the general public for cooperation. Essential services like medical, power, media, and water supply will be exempted from the purview of the total shutdown, it stated.
Thangtinlen Haokip, General Secretary, KSO Sadar Hills said the agitation will be intensified if the ATSUM leaders are not released without any condition at the earliest possible.
Meanwhile, The Joint Tribe Students’ Association (JTSA) announced not to endorse ATSUM total shut down.
The JTSA, while extending support to the demands made by ATSUM, has, however, decided not to endorse the total shutdown called by the apex student body of the tribals stating that such total shutdowns are not encouraged in times of difficulties.
The JTSA is also not aware of the resolution adopted in the 2nd ATSUM General Assembly, 2022 at Haipi Village, Sadar Hills and other meetings, Media and Publicity Wing of the JTSA stated in a press release.
The JTSA also called on all elected tribal MLAs to support the HAC recommended ADC Bill, 2021 or resign on moral grounds, adding that not only the Chairman of HAC but all elected tribal MLAs are responsible for the bill. It further appealed to the state government to make every effort giving due regards to the constitutional provisions provided under the Constitution of India for tribals by tabling the HAC recommended ADC Bill in the Assembly.
The JTSA is a conglomeration of All Inpui Students’ Union (AISU), Liangmei Naga Katimai Ruangdi (LNKR), Rongmei Naga Students’ Organisation, Manipur (RNSOM) and Zeme Students’ Organisation Manipur (ZSOM).
First published:3 Aug 2022, 6:52 am
churachandpurATSUMmorehkangpokpiAll Tribal Students’ Union Manipuremergency shutdownatsum leaders arrest