Manipur: Emergency shutdown in hill districts amid tribal student leaders detained

Imphal: Following the detention of four leaders of the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) by Manipur police on Tuesday evening, an indefinite emergency shutdown has been imposed across the hill districts in Manipur.

The four tribal student leaders were picked up from ATSUM office over the proposed 24-hour total shutdown in the hill districts of the state from 6 pm of August 3 till 6 pm of August 4 to press the state government for tabling of the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021 in the ongoing second session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly.

Denouncing the undemocratic act by the state government, the ATSUM federating units, including All Naga Students’ Association Manipur (ANSAM) and Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO), had demanded release of the arrested ATSUM leaders before 6 pm of Tuesday evening and warned of an emergency shutdown if they were not released within the stipulated time.

In Kangpokpi district, volunteers of tribal student unions blocked the National Highway from 7 pm onwards on Tuesday, bringing vehicular movement, including trucks plying on the highway, to a halt.

A similar emergency shutdown was also reported in Ukhrul district initiated by Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong (TKS), a federating unit of ATSUM.

TKS, in its emergency statement, said that “they are astounded by the atrocities met out by the Manipur police towards the student leaders of ATSUM by unlawfully arresting four student leaders, including the president and general secretary along with four senior activists while the student bodies were endorsing the legislators of the hills in recommending the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill 2021 guaranteed under the Article 371 (C) of the Indian Constitution.”

Therefore, the Saklong, in support of the emergency shutdown being called by the ATSUM, will initiate the same immediately, it stated.

As per sources, tribal student body also imposed an emergency shutdown in Churachandpur and Moreh. However, no untoward incident has been reported so far from the total shutdown in the hill districts of the state till the time of filing this report.

Meanwhile, Manipur Governor La Ganesan in an order dated August 1, 2022, under Clause (3) of Article 207 of the Constitution of India, recommended to the Manipur Legislative Assembly the consideration of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council (Sixth Amendment) Bill, 2022.

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