The Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) Sadar Hills Kangpokpi district has also imposed a total shutdown along the National Highway 37 (Imphal-Jiribam) road with effect from 4 pm of October 2, besides imposing a 15-hour total shutdown on October 3.
The shutdown on NH 37 is in connection with an alleged abduction of a Kuki by armed Meitei miscreants from New Keithelmanbi area on September 30 and it will continue till the individual is released.
According to CoTU Media Cell Coordinator Ng Lun Kipgen, on September 30 one Sathang Kipgen (52), son of Kamlun Kipgen of Bijang village in New Keithelmanbi area in Kangpokpi district was abducted by armed Meitei miscreants.
CoTU Sadar Hills Kangpokpi district also served a 48-hour ultimatum to the Union Home Ministry for the release of Kuki-Zo individuals including two minors arrested by the CBI and NIA failing which an indefinite total shutdown will be imposed in the entire Kangpokpi district from October 5.
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He continued that if arrests can be made on flimsy grounds like IMEI of a mobile phone, why is CBI and NIA taking time to arrest the culprits connected with looting of arms and ammunition from the state armouries, beheading of David Thiek, the parading naked of Kuki-Zo women, the massacre of three Kuki individuals in Kangchup area, raping and murder of Florence Hangshing and Olivia Chongloi and burning of a minor boy along with his mother and aunty inside an ambulance.
Lun Kipgen further said that the arrest of one Seimunlun Gangte by the NIA on the pretext of transnational conspiracy is unacceptable and will not accept biased and selective targeting on flimsy grounds.
Meanwhile, the Kuki-Zo tribal womenfolk protested against the arrest and blocked all roads leading to different places while a sit-in protest was also held in front of the Mini Secretariat.
The Joint Student Body (JSB) of Lamka has called a “12-hour total shutdown” in the entire district of Lamka (Churachandpur) in protest against the arrest on October 2.
The body claimed that Seimalsom @ Boisom Haokip and Paominlun Haokip are President and Secretary of KSO, Leimatak Block.
The Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) also declared an indefinite shutdown from 10 am on October 2 and warned the central agencies – NIA and CBI to release the alleged abductees within 48 hours, failing which a more intense agitation will follow in all hill districts of Manipur.
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It also declared that all boundary areas with the Meitei will be sealed from October 2 and no one will be allowed to leave or enter the buffer zones while all government offices will be closed from October 2.
Vehemently condemning the CBI’s arrests, the Kuki Students’ Organization General Headquarters stated that the abduction of innocent civilians, particularly minors, is a gross violation of human rights and an affront to the principles of justice and humanity.
The Kuki student’s apex body also clarified that Boisawm Haokip and Paominlun Haokip are neither KNF Zogam cadre nor have any involvement in the cases, rather they are the President and General Secretary of KSO Leimata Block respectively.
The student body then called upon the relevant authorities, including the CBI, to - ensure the safe return of the abducted civilians, especially the minors, to their families, providing them with the care and support they require; uphold the principles of justice, human rights, and child protection, and work to prevent such incidents in the future; and engage in open dialogue with the concerned communities to address their concerns and create an atmosphere of trust and cooperation.
KSO-GHQ also expressed strong condemnation of a recent Facebook post by Chief Minister Biren Singh, stating that the Chief Minister publicly supports the arrest of individuals without any proof or evidence.
While endorsing the shutdown called by the ITLF and JSB Lamka, KSO General Headquarters stated that the shutdown is a resentment of the Kuki-Zo community towards the partiality of the Government and appealed to the general public to abide by the agitation.
Meanwhile, the Kuki Inpi Manipur, the apex body of the Kuki tribes, also expressed deep resentment against the CBI’s arrests and utter dismay over the alleged selective/exclusive justice against the Kuki-Zo people.
KIM Information and Publicity Secretary, Janghaolun Haokip said that when arrests are made on grounds of suspicion against the Kuki-Zo community, why are the culprits of the barbaric beheading, mutilation, rape, and immolation against the Kuki-Zo people not apprehended in the same manner.
“This only substantiated the fact that the Manipur state government is altogether manipulating law and order and constitutional values and principles in the state to fit into its nefarious agenda of wiping out the Kuki-Zo community from the Manipur state”, he added.