The Manipur police picked up the student leaders of the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) on Tuesday from Imphal West. Apart from the arrested tribal leaders, ATSUM president Paotinthang Lupheng, general secretary SR Andrea and two other executive members were also picked up from the office of ATSUM located at Adimjati Shiksha Ashram, Chingmeirong.
The arrest occurs comes a day after the ATSUM, the top body for tribal students, called for a complete 24-hour closure in all of Manipur's hill districts from 6 p.m. on August 3 to 6 p.m. on August 4.
If the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill 2021 is not brought up during the current second session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly, the tribal student body has warned of further intensified protests in the coming days.
It may be mentioned here that the Manipur Tribal Student Union had raised a resentment against the government for not paying heed to the wishes of the Hill area people and showing a lackadaisical attitude towards the tabling of the HAC recommended “The Manipur (Hill Areas) ADC Bill 2021” in the ongoing 2nd Session of the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly.
The ATSUM had called for a statewide 24-hour bandh on August 3 with regards to the introduction of the HAC recommended “The Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Councils Bill”. The tribal body professed their willingness to provide their selfless service to the community and strengthen the autonomous district councils as required by Article 371C of the Indian Constitution read with the Manipur Legislative Assembly (Hill Areas Committee) orders.
It may be mentioned here that the many organizations have backed the ATSUM called bandh on August 3. With the arrested leaders being produced at the Court of the Chief Magistrate in Imphal West, situation remains tense in the Hill areas of the state where the protest was witnessed to have major impact.
Many student bodies and unions have extended their support to the arrested ATSUM leaders demanding their release.
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