All Tribal Students Union, Manipur (ATSUM) has expressed its gratitude to Kuki Students’ Organisation-General Headquarters (KSO-GHQ), All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) and “all the federating units and All College Tribal Students’ Union, Imphal and Manipur University Tribal Students’ Union for the unflinching support rendered to ATSUM during the our trying times” ATSUM then appealed to them “not to shirk when called upon in the near future”.
In a press statement on Thursday, the tribal student body said, “Germane to the long drawn-out procrastination of the conduct of Autonomous District Council (ADC) election in the hill district of Manipur ATSUM along with ANSAM, KSO-GHQ and its federating units had held several rounds of talks with the government of Manipur since the past year to hammer out a time table for the same but no conclusion could be arrived at due to the refusal of both parties to budge from their respective stands”.
This provoked the apex students’ organization of the hill people to launch a series of intense agitations so as to pressurize the government of Manipur to conduct the long overdue election at the earliest date possible but with little headway, stated the press note.
“All hell broke loose with the arrest of three ATSUM students’ leaders on April 6 further deteriorated the situation as ATSUM was of the opinion that the government instead of trying to find an honorable solution was trying to suppress the genuine demand of the hill people,” it also said. “Livid over the government’s arrogant attitude ATSUM and its federating units launched a sudden bandh and demanded for the immediate release of its members,” ATSUM added.
The student body then said that the release of the three student leaders the day itself cleared the decks for further parley which was held on April 7 at the conference hall of the Tribal Affairs & Hills in the presence of ATSUM, ANSAM, KSO-GHQ and its federating units and the government side represented by Vungzagin Valte Minister TA &H, Losii Dikho, PHED Minister, Letpao Haokip YAS Minister, Letkhogin Haokip Addl. Chief Secretary TA & H and W. Arthur, Director TA &H.
“Making no bones about ATSUM leaders asked the government to announce the date of election true to its earlier promises made to ATSUM and denounced their insincerity to live up to their words,” it claimed. After three-hour long talks an MoU was signed to be honored to the letter after the government’s assurance for a definite date for the announcement of the election notification on or before May 5, 2021, added ATSUM.