5 arrested ATSUM leaders released; MoU signed to lift Economic Blockade

Imphal: All five arrested All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) leaders in judicial custody were released today from Sajiwa jail, exactly after seven days from their arrest by Manipur police on August 2. They were in jail following an order of the Imphal West chief judicial magistrate remanding them to judicial custody for 15 days (till August 20).

The release comes as a result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Manipur government represented by Tribal Affairs minister Letpao Haokip, and Hill Areas Committee (HAC) chairman Dinganglung Gangmmei (Dipua) and members along with ATSUM, Kuki Students’ Organisation-General Headquarters (KSO-GHQ) and All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur (ANSAM) on August 7.

The five leaders released on Monday evening around 6 pm are, president Paotinthang Lupheng (45), Andria Sinruwang (36), Khaiminlen Doungel (35), Marankhai Awungshi (31) and John H Pulamte (51).

The below is the MoU signed between Manipur government and tribal student bodies:

  1. As the Seventh Amendment Bill of Manipur Hills Areas District Councils for devolution of power of ADCs have been referred to HAC. The HAC will have consultation with Stakeholders before recommending to the Manipur Legislative Assembly.
  2. The five arrested leaders will be released after lifting of Economic Blockade without any charges.
  3. The arrest warrant and FIR against the ATSUM leaders will be nullified.

    For ATSUM, the MoU was jointly signed by Vanlallien Khaute, vice president ATSUM; Sasang Vaiphei president KSO-GHQ; and Peter Thirtung Wanglar president, ANSAM.

    It may be mentioned that the emergency indefinite shutdown was launched by tribal students across Manipur hill districts over the arrest of the ATSUM leaders, a day prior to the shutdown announcement on August 3 to August 4 pressing the state government to table the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill-2021 recommended by the Hill Areas Committee (HAC).

    Also read | KSO, ATSUM demands immediate release of its leaders; Guv La Ganesan recommends consideration of Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Bill, 2022

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