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Manipur: Tribal student leaders released, blockade lifted

Internet had been suspended for five days from Sunday after outbreak of violent protests on Saturday following court sending the student leaders to judicial custody

Sabrangindia 09 Aug 2022

Manipur

On the evening of Monday, August 8, five tribal student leaders, all members of All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), were released from jail after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the state government and the students’ groups with respect to lifting an economic blockade on two national highways, that had severely affected supply lines to and from the state.

ATSUM has been at the forefront of demanding autonomy for Manipur’s Hill Areas. At the recently concluded Monsoon Session of the State Assembly, the sixth amendment to the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Bill was passed and the seventh amendment was referred to the Hill Area Committee (HAC) for devolution of powers to the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs).

On August 2, ATSUM, which had been demanding greater autonomy for the Hill Areas, announced a shutdown starting August 3. But on the same day ATSUM president Paotinthang Lupheng (45), Andria Sinruwang (36), Khaiminlen Doungel (35), Marankhai Awungshi (31) and John H Pulamte (51) were arrested. They were remanded to judicial custody for 15 days on Saturday August 6, sparking violent protests.

While a vehicle had been burnt on the National Highway in Bishnupur, at least 30 students and three policemen were reported injured at a rally in Imphal on Saturday. An economic blockade was instituted by the protesters on two national highways - the Imphal-Dimapur highway (NH-2) and Imphal-Jiribam highway (NH-39), severely hitting supplies coming from Assam. The state had announced an internet shutdown for five days starting Sunday.

Talks began on Sunday and an agreement was reached on Monday based on which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the state government and protesting groups led by ATSUM.

According to the MoU, the HAC will hold discussion with stakeholders on the seventh amendment to the ADC Bill. Meanwhile, the state government agreed to release the arrested five leaders after ASTUM lifted the economic blockade. The state government also agreed to nullify the arrest warrant and FIR against the ATSUM leaders.

Nagaland Post reports that state tribal affairs and hills minister Letpao Haokip and HAC chairman Dinganglung Gangmei signed the MoU on behalf of the state government, while ATSUM vice president Vanlallien Khaute, Kuki Students’ Organisation-General Headquarters (KSO-GHQ) president Sasang Vaiphei and All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur (ANSAM) president Peter Thirtung Wanglar signed it on behalf of the tribal student bodies.

Related:

Manipur Human Rights Commission set to investigate the death of Zeliangrong Leader

Manipur: Tribal student leaders released, blockade lifted

Internet had been suspended for five days from Sunday after outbreak of violent protests on Saturday following court sending the student leaders to judicial custody

Manipur

On the evening of Monday, August 8, five tribal student leaders, all members of All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM), were released from jail after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the state government and the students’ groups with respect to lifting an economic blockade on two national highways, that had severely affected supply lines to and from the state.

ATSUM has been at the forefront of demanding autonomy for Manipur’s Hill Areas. At the recently concluded Monsoon Session of the State Assembly, the sixth amendment to the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council Bill was passed and the seventh amendment was referred to the Hill Area Committee (HAC) for devolution of powers to the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs).

On August 2, ATSUM, which had been demanding greater autonomy for the Hill Areas, announced a shutdown starting August 3. But on the same day ATSUM president Paotinthang Lupheng (45), Andria Sinruwang (36), Khaiminlen Doungel (35), Marankhai Awungshi (31) and John H Pulamte (51) were arrested. They were remanded to judicial custody for 15 days on Saturday August 6, sparking violent protests.

While a vehicle had been burnt on the National Highway in Bishnupur, at least 30 students and three policemen were reported injured at a rally in Imphal on Saturday. An economic blockade was instituted by the protesters on two national highways - the Imphal-Dimapur highway (NH-2) and Imphal-Jiribam highway (NH-39), severely hitting supplies coming from Assam. The state had announced an internet shutdown for five days starting Sunday.

Talks began on Sunday and an agreement was reached on Monday based on which a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the state government and protesting groups led by ATSUM.

According to the MoU, the HAC will hold discussion with stakeholders on the seventh amendment to the ADC Bill. Meanwhile, the state government agreed to release the arrested five leaders after ASTUM lifted the economic blockade. The state government also agreed to nullify the arrest warrant and FIR against the ATSUM leaders.

Nagaland Post reports that state tribal affairs and hills minister Letpao Haokip and HAC chairman Dinganglung Gangmei signed the MoU on behalf of the state government, while ATSUM vice president Vanlallien Khaute, Kuki Students’ Organisation-General Headquarters (KSO-GHQ) president Sasang Vaiphei and All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur (ANSAM) president Peter Thirtung Wanglar signed it on behalf of the tribal student bodies.

Related:

Manipur Human Rights Commission set to investigate the death of Zeliangrong Leader

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