Manipur hill districts hit by shutdown

All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur protests against non-tabling of The Manipur (Hill areas) Autonomous District Council Bill, 2021, in the current monsoon session of Assembly

Life in the hill districts of Manipur was thrown out of gear from Sunday midnight in response to a 24-hour shutdown called by the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) in protest against the non-tabling of The Manipur (Hill areas) Autonomous District Council Bill, 2021 in the current monsoon session of the Assembly that will end on Tuesday.

All kinds of vehicles in general, and the trucks that ply along the national highways 2 and 37 are stranded. One bridge, which was damaged some days ago, is yet to be repaired. Several students’ bodies and tribal civil organisations also support the Bill. However, reports say the Thadou Students’ Association opposes the shutdown.

All markets, educational institutes, business centres and government offices in the hill areas were shut down. However, media and other essential services were not covered by the lockdown. There has been no report of any untoward incident.

A government notification says that as the Bill, which has far-reaching consequences, will be first discussed in a Cabinet meeting before bringing it to the House. This is not acceptable to the tribal organisations that had called the shutdown.

Resolution against Bill

Over eight civil, students’ and women’s organisations held a public discourse on the Bill on Sunday and resolved to oppose it. It was also resolved to urge the government not to table it since it has “serious issues”, without first consulting with all the stakeholders.

Chief Minister N. Biren said, “All communities have been living in this State in peace and harmony and it must continue. It will be better not to dream even for disintegrating this ancient land”.

Police have beefed up security since the tribal bodies are likely to launch further agitations.

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