Imphal: Almost a week after five leaders of the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) were detained, the Manipur police on Monday evening released the student leaders.

Meanwhile, the economic blockade imposed by ATSUM was also lifted on Monday, giving way to the stranded trucks along highways in the hill districts.

The five leaders of ATSUM, including its president and general secretary, were picked up by Imphal West police on August 2 following the union’s call for a shutdown in hill districts, to demand the tabling of the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) recommended Autonomous District Councils (ADC) Amendment Bill, 2021.

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Also Read | Manipur: Shutdown in hill districts after ATSUM leaders’ arrest

Earlier on Friday, much against the students’ demands, minister for tribal affairs and hills department Letpao Haokip passed the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council (sixth amendment) Bill 2022 on the last day of the budget session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly, while the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council (seventh amendment) Bill 2022 was referred to HAC for further discussion, stating that there was a technical error and that it required further examination.

Following the arrest of the student leaders, who were released at 6:30 pm on Monday, various tribal student organisations intensified their protests across districts. On Friday, ATSUM imposed an indefinite “economic blockade” along the national highways passing through the hill districts, cutting off supplies to the valley region.

Also Read | Manipur: Scores protest to demand release of arrested tribal student leaders

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Sources told EastMojo that the economic blockade imposed by ATSUM has now been lifted and the trucks stranded along the national highways have started moving late on Monday evening.

On Saturday, at least 30 tribal students sustained injuries when police tried to disperse the student gathered at Chingmeirong in Imphal West for a peaceful rally by throwing tear gas and lathi charges. The students were demanding immediate release of the five tribal student leaders arrested by Manipur Police.

Later on Saturday, mobile internet services were suspended for five days across Manipur by an order issued by Special Secretary (Home) H Gyan Prakash, which said that “some anti-social elements were using social media to transmit hate speeches, inciting the passions of the public”.

Also Read | Manipur: Thirty tribal students injured in police brutality in Imphal

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