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Communal twist to ATSUM’s blockade on highways


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.

TFM Desk

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.

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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.

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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.

Police gypsy burnt down

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.

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1 Comment
  1. Deben Bachaspatimayum says

    The belief that all kinds of violent acts including strikes, bundhs, blockades, picketing, and burning of public properties are the only ways to solve all kinds of problems among the youth, students and ‘civil society organizations’ and carried out by anyone or many of these bodies from their own safe zones/ control areas is obsolete /outdated or poverty of creative and innovative ideas. Any such violent act carried out by any one of these valley-based bodies anywhere in the valley or by hill-based bodies on any one of the national highways – life lines of millions of people who are not responsible for the issues for which violent acts are committed is committed within their limited understanding of their own worldviews. For instance, when hill-based bodies call for bundhs on the lifelines they easily and conveniently forget the miseries caused to millions who depend on those lifelines for their immediate and long-term needs. Similarly, valley-based bundh callers do the same. This lack of awareness of the interconnected and interdependent globalized world of the 21st century is due to ignorance. If the civil society: youth and students remain ignorant of the changing realities of 21st century the blame can only go to the Education Sector. How is the education to the younger generations being delivered in the Higher Education Institutions and what are younger generations actually learning from their institutions. Has education nothing to do with social problems?

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