Senapati: In response to the call from ATSUM against the illegal detention of the student leaders, the Senapati District Students Association (SDSA) imposed total shutdown beginning from early morning on Wednesday. Volunteers supporting the bandh drove away vehicles without proper reasons during the day.
According to a source from ATSUM, the tribals in Manipur under the banner of ATSUM have been striving towards an inclusive governance for better transparency and to bridge the gap of development and to bring equal development. Under Article 371C, tribals of Manipur under the Govt of India have the full authority and autonomy under AUTONOMOUS DISTRICT COUNCIL. However, the statement mentioned that the Govt of Manipur has been manipulating the tribal rights by fooling the general public introducing pity bills so called “DISTRICT COUNCIL BILL” by eliminating the most important word “AUTONOMOUS.”
Therefore, the demand for the autonomous District council Bill by the tribals are never met with the introduction of Name sake Bills, they said.A release from the Publicity wing of ATSUM stated that the bill recommended by the HILLS AREA COMMITTEE (HAC BILL, 2021) was never considered or consulted by the Govt before introducing the bill in the state assembly, the bill introduced on 2 August, 2022 and has stated to be a self vested interest individual bills which will never be accepted by the Tribal people at large until and unless the Autonomous District Councils bill, 2021 recommended by HAC is introduced and passed in the state Legislative Assembly.
The state Govt’s denial to table the HAC Recommended ADC Bill, 2021 in the Assembly constrained the whole tribal populace compelling to go for intense agitation in Hill Districts of Manipur, they said. During the agitation, many student leaders were reportedly arrested and different MoUs were signed between the state Govt and tribal students’ organizations that clearly mentioned to table the HAC recommended ADC Bill, 2021 in the Winter Session Assembly, 2021. However, the state Govt. failed to abide by the MoUs signed and the Govt.’s deception to the whole tribal populace is a clear sign of unconstitutional and lawless governance in Manipur, they claimed.
In regard to the bill tabled by the TA & Hills Minister on August 2, 2022, student bodies lamented that it was on the advice of the state Govt. to table a different one (The Hill Areas District Council Bill 6th amendment & 7 amendment) which was not recommended by HAC and beyond the demand and wishes of the whole tribal populace. To this, the tribal populace considered such act as autocratic governance demeaning the meaning of democracy in Manipur, they mentioned.
Expressing strong resentment against the state goverment’s lackadaisical attitude against the tribal populace and the deceitful act of the incumbent HAC members, the tribal populace took up an agitation in all the hill districts of Manipur.
Kakai Singsit, Secretary, Finance, ATSUM while briefing media at Senapati stated that the agitation is an equivocal stand of the 3 student bodies of the hill districts including the ATSUM, ANSAM and KSO, GHQ that the bandh will continue and will be intensified if the Govt does not table the HAC Recommended ADC bill in the state assembly. While strongly condemning the arrest of its senior leaders including some executives of ATSUM by the Govt of Manipur, the student leader warned to take any step to intensify its agitation if the Govt does not release the arrested student leaders at the earliest.
ATSUM Finance Secretary also warned to intensify serious agitations as per a decision taken by ATSUM, ANSAM and KSO, GHQ until and unless the demands that were placed before the Govt of Manipur are fulfilled in toto. The student bodies have stated to strongly condemn the attitude of the state Govt relating to the MoU signed on August 25, 2021 where the state Govt assured to introduce the HAC Recommended bill in the assembly for discussion. However, the Govt of Manipur has not done till date. In protest against the failure of the state Govt to stand by its commitment, all people of the hill districts led by ATSUM, ANSAM, KSO, GHQ and its federating units reported to intensify the ongoing bandh and total shutdown until and unless their demands are fulfilled. The proposed 24 hours total shutdown called by the apex hill student bodies from 6 pm of August 3 has been intensified where the student bodies had warned that there would be no exemption except media, medical and airport with genuine medical report and air ticket verification. The total shutdown would continue till 6 pm of August 4.
Market, Schools and shops remained closed at Tamenglong, Kamjong headquarters today.
The landslide bandh imposed in the hill districts, though successful, however has affected the day-today lives of the general populace.
Government offices, educational institutions and business establishments remained closed in Ukhrul headquarters. However, other than the emergency services, vehicular movements came to a grinding halt.
No untoward incidents were however reported.