Ukhrul: The Tangkhul Mayar Ngala Long (TMNL) has extended a warm welcome to the proposed visit of chief minister N. Biren Singh and his cabinet to Ukhrul Headquarters on October 18, 2023 and also appealed him to revoke the mobile internet ban in peaceful district such as Ukhrul.
Speaking to media persons, president of TMNL, Themaso Tallanao informed that “on September 30, 2023, the TMNL had submitted a memorandum to chief minister requesting for lifting of the suspension of mobile data internet at Ukhrul Headquarters. Again, on October 6, 2023, we met CM at his chamber and appraised him about the hardship faced by the people due to the suspension of the mobile internet in a peaceful district like Ukhrul. Since CM will be visiting Ukhrul on October 18, we have taken the initiative to remind him again about our memorandum by orgainisng a sit-in-protest at Ukhrul Headquarters on today. However, the proposed sit-in-protest was canceled in the last minute, looking at the greater interest and tranquility of the populace. However, we reiterate our demand to kindly revoke the mobile internet suspension.”
“The ordinary and peaceful citizen of Ukhrul have to come out demanding our basic rights. TMNL has been tirelessly working for the common cause and for the betterment of the Ukhrul District in general. We have no hidden agenda, nor we have to be. We dont have any intention to boycott the CM’s proposed visit. We want the people’s government to listen to the grievances of its people. The prolonged blanket mobile internet ban has destabalised the economy and the learning environment in the digital age. It has been 161 days, since the state has banned the mobile internet and the negligence and inaction has proved to be a deliberate deprivation of basic rights towards the non-conflict region of the state, akin to collective punishment. TMNL will not stay silent to this injustice,” added Themaso Tallanao.
“The digital inaccessibility has deprived the basic rights towards the non-conflict hill region of the state and affected the community from all walks of life. The blanket imposition of internet suspension for a long period on the entire state of Manipur under the pretext of restoring peace is unjustified. The move and declaration of non-conflict areas (hill districts) as “disturbed areas” only further the existent psychological and emotional vulnerability under the AFSPA. On the contrary, the conflicted areas continue to be tagged “undisturbed”. The state government and concerned authority must stop gaining their political mileage from the ongoing and regrettable ethnic/communal clash. The public will no longer be appeased by mere developmental plans when economic, social and political rights continue to be downplayed. The public cannot be made to pay for the failure of the state. Taking into consideration the prime role of internet services in different spheres of life and the distasteful yet, unsurprising act of depriving our rights, TMNL is compelled to demand the restoration of mobile internet without any further delay. The complacency on the part of concerned authority towards our genuine demand will compelled TMNL to resort to various agitations until the internet ban is revoked unconditionally in Ukhrul Headquarters,” stated a press release from the TMNL.
Ukhrul District has a mere 220 broadband connections at the moment for a population of around 50,000 in the district headquarters itself.