Imphal: All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) has announced to go ahead with the proposed 24 hours total shutdown in the hill districts from Friday night onwards following a meeting with Chief CMnister N Biren Singh failed to reach any solution.

Moreover, the group announced, an indefinite economic blockade along the National Highway will begin from November 22 onwards. 

In a press statement issued, the student body stated that the official meeting with the state government took place on receipt of an invitation to ATSUM, ANSAM, KSO-GHQ and ATSUM federating units for a meeting at the CM’s office to discuss the HAC recommended Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021. 

The meeting discussed the positions of both the parties, however, it failed to find an agreeable solution, said Khaiminlen Doungel, information and publicity secretary, ATSUM.

“The relentless effort of the state government to misguide the public by constantly claiming that the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Act 1971 is a Parliament Act and cannot be repealed by the state Legislative Assembly is unfortunate,” said the body.

According to the statement, the Manipur Gazette (Extraordinary) published by the Secretariat: Law and Legislative Affairs, government of Manipur clearly stated that the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Act 1971 has continued to be in force in the state of Manipur with necessary adaptations under the Manipur (Adaptation of Laws) order, 1972.

Accordingly, the Manipur Legislative Assembly has repeal the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Act 1971 in the year 2000 by enacting the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Act, 2000 (Manipur Act no. 11 of 2000), it said.

It further stated that corresponding upon the precedent of the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Act 1971 being repealed in the year 2000 and the rule of law, the state government should stop misleading the public immediately. 

The tribals student union also urged the state government to convene special Assembly session to table the HAC recommended ‘Manipur (Hill Areas) ADC Bill 2021’ in the larger interest of the state.

The body further appealed to all the “right thinking populace” of the state to support the movement, which aims to consolidate fraternity among all communities of the state.

According to the HAC, the Bill under Article 371 (C) of the Indian Constitution of 1972 asserts that the Hill Area Committee can recommend any legislation or executive action concerning the scheduled matters. As per the copy of the Bill, HAC and the Autonomous District Councils would gain more autonomy concerning the administration and management of the hills.

Also read: Fourth wave of COVID-19: Austria to enter national lockdown

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