Imphal: At least 11 tribal student leaders were reportedly arrested on Wednesday night by the Manipur Police following the call for an indefinite national highway economic blockade launched by tribal students on Monday.

The tribal student organisations are demanding the state government to convey a special session to table and discuss the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) recommended Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021 in the Manipur Legislative Assembly.

According to a press statement issued by All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), student leaders of the ATSUM, All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM) and the Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO GHQ) were arrested from Nungba in Tamenglong district at around 11:30 pm.

The arrested leaders include ATSUM president Putin Lupheng and general secretary S Andrea among others.

Tribal student organisations condemned the unlawful arrest of the leaders and urged the state government to release the leaders unconditionally. Condemning the arrest, ATSUM in a statement stated that this act of aggression led by the present government against democratic agitation has seriously created complete chaos and painted Manipur as a totalitarian form of government.

“The tribal populace will not succumb to such repressive tactics to deny the constitutional rights of the tribals but will rise and stand firm with our legitimate demands and ensure that justice to delivered to the tribals of the state and guaranteed by the Constitution of India,” the statement added.

ATSUM further urged the state government to release the detained leaders without any conditions before 2 pm, else, they would take up stronger forms of public agitation, including a total shutdown in the state.

Reaffirmed their support to ATSUM, ANSAM AND KSO GHQ’s demand, Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS), in its press communique, appealed to the state government to release the arrested tribal student leaders unconditionally at the earliest before the issue escalates into an uncontrollable situation.



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