The 12-hour total shutdown imposed by All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) with the support from various tribal organisations in all the hill districts of Manipur crippled normal life as all shops and market areas remained shut while vehicular movement were stopped.
As per our Tamenglong Correspondent, the 12-hour shutdown with support from the joint tribe students association severely affected the district.
The shutdown began from 6 am by blocking of roads at the district headquarters by the volunteers.
All types of vehicular movements, including the interstate and inter-district passenger services were halted due to the total shutdown. All shops and markets including government offices both government and private run schools were closed down.
In a statement, the joint tribe students association stated that RIMS Authority has disgraced the Memorandum of Agreement signed on April 3 2023 between RIMS Authority and ATSUM in the presence of the government of Manipur.
As RIMS Authority failed to honor the MOA signed in letters and spirit, the joint tribe students association fully endorses the 12-hour bandh called under ATSUM, it stated. It further appealed to the people of Tamenglong and Noney district to extend their full cooperation.
It warned that in case of any untoward incident occurring in connection with the total shutdown, the organization will not be held responsible.
No unwanted incidents occurred till the time of filing this report.
Our Churachandpur Correspondent stated that the shutdown was smoothly carried out in the district with the two main students unions e.i. The Kuki Students Organisation and the Zomi Student Federation endorsing it
During the 12-hour total shutdown, all shops in the town area were closed. Private and Government schools remained shut, and vehicles were off the road. As exempted, hospital services were made functional and OPDs were opened.
Bandh volunteers from KSO and ZSF are putting vigil at Kangvai, Kaprang, Tuibong, Sialmat, New Lamka and other places where they took duties to make the total shutdown successful.
There were no reports of any untoward incident from Churachandpur district.
At Kangvai village, which is located at the boundary of Churachandpur and Bishnupur district, the general secretary of KSO DJ Haokip expressed that they are supporting the total shutdown.
The matter is not only about the RIMS recruitment but various issues confronting the tribal community in every aspect.
All business establishments in Kangpokpi District Headquarters were seen closed for the day while educational institutions as well were seen shut down except those conducting examinations, as per our Kangpokpi correspondent.
The National Highway -2 also wore a deserted look as no vehicles including commercial vehicles were off the road except those exempted from the purview of the total shutdown.
However, no untoward incidents have been reported till the filing of this report.
The ATSUM social and culture secretary Paul said that the state government had verbally approached the ATSUM through some hill representatives for talks but ATSUM did not receive any official intimation or invitation through proper channels so far.
“ATSUM also considers talks without commitment as purposeless or inefficacious, so, we went ahead with the proposed total shutdown to show our disappointment over the RIMS authority's adamant attitude in materialising the tripartite 'Memorandum of Agreement' signed on April 3,” he added.
Responding to a query with regards to the RIMS Director's appeal to hold the protest for a time being, Paul said that it was just an ‘appeasement policy’ on the part of the RIMS authority.
He said that there was no official appealing letter received at the office of the ATSUM and the appeal of the RIMS director came in the media late when the ATSUM had already prepared everything for the total shutdown. There was already no time for the ATSUM to inform its subordinates and federating units to put on hold the proposed stir, he mentioned.
In connection with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, North East Section directive to the RIMS authority, the ATSUM executive said that the Ministry was just conveying the RIMS authority about the process initiated over the RIMS reservation imbroglio while adding that it was not a solution or addressing the demands of the ATSUM.
“The Ministry’s directive has no clarity and it was very confusing for the union,” Paul added.
Mentioned may be made that RIMS Director H Priyosakhi on Sunday appealed to the ATSUM to put its proposed bandh on hold for the time being as the RIMS authority has been awaiting clearance from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
A few hours later after appeal, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (North East Section) invited the attention of the RIMS Director over the issue of the Reservation Policy in Group C and D posts in RIMS, Imphal in the wake of the resumption of agitation by ATSUM.
The Ministry also directed the RIMS Director to furnish the relevant details, especially those related to the tripartite agreement signed on April 3 to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
It also reminded the RIMS director that the matter of reservation policy for Group C and D posts in RIMS is already under examination in the Ministry in light of DoPT guidelines. It requested the RIMS authority not to take any precipitate decision at the level of the institute on such matters until a considered decision is conveyed by the Ministry.
Meanwhile, the ATSUM executive also said that no decision on the further course of action has been decided as ATSUM along with its subordinates and federating units will put its head together and decide the further course of action to be initiated.
ATSUM in its press communique on Monday stated that in fact, the total shutdown was a testament to how aggrieved the tribal people of Manipur are and it was the first phase of resentment shown by the tribal community.
It also stated that despite the tripartite agreement (MoA) signed between the state government, ATSUM, and RIMS Authority on April 3, RIMS Authority remained adamant and failed to implement the MoA deliberately, it added.
Meanwhile, ATSUM also appreciated the support and endorsement given by all tribal organizations of the hill districts in the course of this struggle to uphold the rights of the tribal people in the state of Manipur while conveying regret for any inconveniences caused during the enforcement of the agitation.
It then stated that ATSUM will continue to fight till justice is rightfully served to the tribal people of the state and further necessary steps to be taken for fulfillment of its demand will be discussed and announced soon.
Our Ukrhul Correspondent stated that the proposed 12-hour total shutdown imposed by the All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) in the entire hill districts of the state disrupted normal life in Ukhrul and Kamjong districts.
The bandh was effectively carried out in both Ukhrul and Kamjong with government offices, educational institutions and commercial establishments remaining shut in the district as the proposed bandh comes into immediate effect from 6 am of Monday.
However there are no reports of any untoward incidents during the course of the bandh.
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