Ongoing economic blockade in Manipur called off, arrested tribal leaders released

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Manipur led by Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has decided to hold crucial discussions within five days with the Hills Area Committee on implementation of the draft Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill, 2021.

Following that, the government would introduce the draft ADC Bill 2021 in the upcoming winter assembly session 2021, after completing the legal process as prescribed by the Indian Constitution.

This was decided in a joint meeting between representatives of the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM), Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO), All Naga Students’ Association of Manipur (ANSAM) and cabinet ministers Letpao Haokip, L. Dikho and Vungzagin Valte and Officers of Tribal Affairs and Hills department.

Meanwhile, after the governments of both sides made an agreement in the meeting, the arrested 11 tribal student leaders representing the ATSUM, KSO-GHQ and ANSAM, who were arrested by Nungba Police on Wednesday night were released unconditionally and the ongoing economic blockade called by ATSUM was suspended for time being.

This indeed is a big development at a time when tribal students bodies as well as other pressure groups had escalated the protests over the non-tabling of the Manipur (Hill Areas) Autonomous District Council Bill, 2021. It needs to be mentioned, that the ATSUM as well as other pressure groups had resorted to indefinite blockade along the National Highways in the hill districts.

This is a significant development at a time when tribal student organisations and other pressure groups have boosted their protests over the failure to table the ADC Bill, 2021.

Noteworthy is that the ATSUM and other pressure groups have resorted to an indefinite blockade of National Highways in the hill districts.