The arrest of three leaders of agitating All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) by police triggered a lightning shutdown in the hill districts of Manipur on Tuesday.
The “emergency shutdown” imposed by ATSUM, Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) and the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) commenced at 10 am. The bandh is still underway.
The student bodies demanded immediate release of the three leaders of ATSUM – Shimthar Jajo, Khaiminlen Doungel and Kakai Singsit – picked up by the police from their respective homes on Monday night.
Sources said that police picked them in connection with ATSUM sponsored ongoing agitations in the hill districts against the delay in conducting the due elections to the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in hill districts of the state.
The agitations commenced on Monday with picketing government offices.
The ATSUM had announced to ahead of the agitations even as the state government assured conduct of the elections on or before June 25, 2021.
After a talk with the agitating tribal student body, the state government, in a press note, stated, “Subsequent to the meeting and after a detailed discussion with the relevant government departments, it has been decided to conduct the ADC elections on or before 25th June, 2021.”
However, refuting that no such agreement was reached during the talk, ATSUM, in a press communiqué on Monday night, announced that agitations would continue.
After the announcement to continue the agitation, police picked up the three leaders of the apex tribal student body of Manipur.
Protesting the arrest of their leaders, ATSUM, KSO and ANSAM imposed the emergency shutdown, commencing from 10 am of Tuesday. They demanded unconditional release of the three ATSUM leaders.
Meanwhile, sources said that a talk was going on between the ATSUM leaders and government representatives in Imphal when this report was being filed.