Updated on 25 Nov 2021, 4:25 pm
Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)
Condemning the arrest of ATSUM, ANSAM, KSO leaders by a combined team of Nungba Police and Commandos, several tribal students' unions have demanded the unconditional and immediate release of the tribal student unions' leaders and warned of strongest form of public agitations, including total shutdown if the Manipur government fail to release the arrested leaders.
As many as 11 executive members of the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) and Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) were arrested at around 11.30 pm on Wednesday at Nungba, under Nungba Police Station in Noney district by a combined team of Nungba Police and Commandos and brought to Imphal at around 4.30 am on Thursday.
Condemning the arrest, ATSUM in a statement issued by its information and publicity cell, said that the act of aggression by the present government against democratic agitation has seriously created complete chaos and painted Manipur as a state led by a totalitarian form of government.
"The All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) is deeply resented and provoked by the unlawful arrest of ATSUM, ANSAM and KSO-GHQ leaders at Nungba by Manipurpolice last night around 11:30 PM. This act of aggression led by the present government against democratic agitation has seriously created complete chaos and painted Manipur as a state led by a totalitarian form of government. The whole tribal populace will not succumb to such repressive tactics to deny the constitutional rights of the tribals but will rise and stand firm without legitimate demands and ensure that justice be delivered to the tribals in the state as guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
Advising the state government to respectfully act within the orbits of the rule of law and release the detained leaders immediately without any conditions, the apex tribal students union warned that ATSUM and its federating units will be compelled to take up strongest form of public agitation with total shutdown in the state.
"The ATSUM draws the attention and advises the Manipur government to respectfully act within the orbits of the rule of law and immediately release the detained leaders without any conditions before 2 pm of November 25, 2021 (TODAY). Failure to which, the ATSUM and its federating units will be compelled to take up strongest form of public agitation with total shutdown in the state if the government decides to continue on this unlawful path, for which the government shall be held responsible for any breakdown of law and order or any untoward occurrences that may result," ATSUM stated.
Strongly condemning the arrest of the tribal students leaders, the Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS) appealed to the state government to release the arrested tribal student leaders unconditionally at the earliest.
The TKS on Thursday reaffirmed its support to ATSUM, ANSAM and KSO in demanding to convene a special session of the state assembly to table the HAC recommended ADC Bill 2021.
The Senapati District Students Association (SDSA) also condemned the unlawful arrest of tribal students leaders while maintaining that the students leaders were involved only in the democratic movement for the legitimate rights of the tribals as granted by the Constitution. The SDSA reaffirmed its support to ATSUM, ANSAM and KSO.
"As a unit of ATSUM, SDSA firmly stands in unison with the ultimatum served by the ATSUM and is ready to take up any form of agitation if our leaders are release unconditionally before the stipulated time frame for which the state government shall be solely responsible for any untoward incident," the SDSA stated.
Condemning the unlawful arrest of the tribal students leaders, the Kuki Students' organisation Sadar Hills (KSO-SH) also demanded immediate release or face the wrath of the tribal people that is "furiously seething" at the moment.
"The HAC Bill 2021 whose purpose is to uplift the tribal people of the state who were victims of unmitigated deprivation, marginalisation, exploitations and beaten to submission by the majority community since time immemorial. Unsurprisingly the government of Manipur has been found to be churning the emotions of the valley people with outrageous lies that the bill will disintegrate the territorial integrity of Manipur when ATSUM had time and again emphatically enunciated that this bill contains no iota of clause or points that is detrimental to the unity of Manipur. What's wrong in giving more autonomy to the hill areas for the sake of equity and development?" the KSO-SH questioned.
"If the government of Manipur wants to be at peace with the tribal people, it should immediately release the tribal leaders and convene a special assembly to deliberate on the ins-and-outs of the bill," the KSO-SH added.
The Kuki Students' Organisation (KSO), Churachandpur also termed the unlawful arrest of tribal leaders a direct challenge to the general populace of the tribals. The KSO Churachandpur also appealed to the Manipur government to release the arrested leaders on or before 2:00 PM of November 25 and warned to take up the strongest form of democratic agitation.
The Naga Students' Union Chandel (NSUC) also strongly condemned the demeaning act of the state government towards the tribal rights and demanded the arrested tribal students leaders to be released immediately without any conditions.
First published:25 Nov 2021, 10:19 am