ADC Bill Row: Bandh cripples normal life in Manipur hill districts

The Bandh called by All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) & other bodies in the hill areas of Manipur has brought normal life to a standstill in the hill districts of Manipur.

The bandh was called after the talks on the issue of tabling the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council (ADC) Bill 2021 between the state governments and ATSUM, ANSAM, KSO-GHQ, and ATSUM federating units failed on the 19th  of November.  

The protesting organizations were miffed that the Manipur Government had failed to table the bill Monsoon Session of the state Assembly which was supposed to repeal and replace the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971.

The meeting of the student leaders of the hill areas with the state Chief Minister N.Biren Singh on November 19 failed to make any headway.

In response, the All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) and other groups called for a 24-hour shutdown in the hill areas today. It is supposed to be followed by an economic blockade.

The economic blockade along the National Highways is supposed to begin on November 22, 2021.

Many indigenous bodies have also backed the call for a shutdown.

According to ATSUM, the Bill would ensure equal development in Manipur’s hill districts while simultaneously promoting community solidarity.

However, the bill has its own share of detractors too. The proposed draft Bill is being vigorously opposed by civil society bodies based in the state’s valley areas.

Meanwhile, the Zomi Students’ Federation, General Headquarter (ZSF-GHQ), Joint Tribe Students’ Association (JTSA) and Thadou Students’ Association (TSA), Tengnoupal Branch has been opposing the bandh stating that they will not support the 24-hour bandh within their respective jurisdictions.

To enforce the bandh the volunteers from the student bodies stood vigil in different road junctions.  

However, media, medical personnel, Kendra Vidyalaya students who are appearing exams, individuals deployed for covid duty and personnel from the electricity dept were allowed to travel freely.