Meetei Leepun accused the tribal students’ body of targeting a particular community in their protest and locked its head office located at Adimjati Complex, Chingmeirong Imphal, for an indefinite period. ATSUM terms Meetei Leepun’s action very unfortunate.
Giving the economic blockades imposed by All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) a communal twist, Meetei Leepun, a civil society organisation, on Friday accused the students’ body of targeting a particular community in their protest and locked its head office located at Adimjati Complex, Chingmeirong Imphal, for an indefinite period.
The ATSUM intensified the protest by imposing “economic blockades” on two important national highways and picketing government offices on Friday after the state government remained adamant despite their extended shutdown imposed in hill areas. The ATSUM was demanding the tabling of the controversial Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council (Amendment) Bill 2021 in the Monsoon session of the Assembly. The monsoon session of the assembly was adjourned sine die on Friday.
Locking the ATSUM’s head office, Meetei Leepun said that ATSUM cannot put a particular community to ransom by imposing bandh/blockade on highways. “We are not against any demand placed by ATSUM to the government. However, we are strongly against imposing bandhs/blockades on highways to press the government for their demands,” it said.’
It threatened not to let ATSUM operate in valley areas if it did not mend the ways and said the office of ATSUM will be locked indefinitely until the issue is solved amicably.
Following the shutdown which has been in forced since August 3, several trucks coming from Assam were stranded on the Imphal-Dimapur highway (NH-2) and Imphal-Jiribam highway (NH-39) hitting the supplies to valley as protesters blocked the roads with boulders, besides burning tyres, officials said.
Meanwhile, reacting to the development, ATSUM general secretary AC Thotso said the action of the Meetei Leepun is very unfortunate. We consider it as direct challenge to tribal communities of Manipur.
Asserting that their demand is not against any community, ATSUM maintained that they are demanding their rights enshrined in the Indian constitution. “We are shocked to learn of such a communal act. We perceived that it must have been done in connivance with the state government,” said AC Thotso. Such act reflects the true colour of state government repressing and suppressing the tribal population in the guise of “chingmi tammi amatani” (Hill and valley people are one entity), he added.
Intensifying its movement, ATSUM volunteers burnt downed and vandalized a police gypsy. In Churachandpur District, volunteers burnt down the doors and veranda of the DTO Churachandpur, said the source.