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Student bodies call sudden shutdown in Manipur hill districts

IMPHAL : The All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), along with the Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) and the All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur (ANSAM), called a sudden complete shutdown across all hill districts in Manipur at 10 am today.

Shimthar Jajo, ATSUM’s rights and information secretary, Khaiminlen Doungel and Kakai Singsit, ATSUM’s information secretary, were among the student leaders detained by the police.

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Supporting the ATSUM agitation, the Moreh block of the KSO took to the streets of the border town and shut down numerous offices, including the range forest office.

They also shut down various banks. A poster with the words “ATSUM office closed in protest of the ADC election delay” was also pasted on the office walls. According to sources, ATSUM volunteers have closed various offices at the Senapati district headquarters.

ATSUM had planned to restart various modes of agitation from Monday, citing the government’s alleged indifference to the charter of demands made over the ADC polls.

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For the last six to seven months, the tribal people of the state have been constantly striving for the timely installation of the ADC, which is the basic democratic institution in the hills, under the banner of ATSUM, a conglomerate of various tribal student bodies in the state.

According to ATSUM’s stir plans, there will be two days of picketing at government offices in all hill districts starting Monday, followed by a mass rally on Thursday and various forms of agitation.

The state cabinet decided on March 27 (this year) to hold ADC elections in the hill districts, including the newly formed districts of Kamjong, Tengnoupal, Pherzawal and Noney, for which the authorities responsible would take the necessary measures.

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The election was scheduled to take place in June last year, but it was postponed for six months by the state cabinet following the Hill Areas Committee’s recommendations (HAC) because of the COVID-19 situation.

“The shutdown will be strictly enforced, except media and medical emergencies,” according to a source.

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