Imphal: Normal life in Imphal was partially affected on Thursday, the first day of the 72-hour state-wide bandh called by several civil society organizations.
World Meitei Council (WMC) and its like-minded 12 civil society organisations are imposing the bandh pressing the state government to submit reports of socio economic and ethnographic surveys of the Meitei community reportedly sought by the Union ministry of Tribal Affairs for consideration of inclusion of Meitei in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list of India.
Almost all the shops and business establishments in and around Imphal remained shut down for the day. Shops and business establishments at main business hubs of the state including Paona Bazar, Thangal Bazar, Khwairamband Keithel remained closed for the day. However, normal vehicular movement was not affected in Imphal. Long distance and inter-district passenger service vehicles stayed off the roads even though short distance passenger service auto-rickshaws were seen plying on the roads in large numbers. However, there were no impacts of the bandh in the hill districts.
The WMC imposes the 72-hour state-wide bandh after the state government failed to fulfill its demand –submitting reports of socio economic and ethnographic surveys of the Meitei community which the Union ministry of Tribal Affairs has sought from the Manipur government on or before November 24.
On the other hand, Scheduled Tribe Demand Committee of Manipur (STDCM), the body taking the lead role in the campaign had earlier clarified that it did not endorse the 72-hour bandh.
In a statement signed by STDCM publicity secretary W Ananda Meetei had stated that even though the committee is spearheading various movements, the bandh callers had not apprised before hand about the decision to call a bandh.