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Manipur: ATSUM terms govt as ‘parochial’ towards hill people

The All Tribal Students Union Manipur, or ATSUM, has come out strongly against the partial removal of AFSPA in Manipur, terming it as “rubbing salt into the already festering wounds

The All Tribal Students Union Manipur, or ATSUM, has come out strongly against the partial removal of AFSPA in Manipur, terming it as “rubbing salt into the already festering wounds of the hill people.” This was stated in a press communiqué signed by Khaiminlen Doungel, Information and Publicity Secretary of ATSUM on Tuesday.

The release states that the withdrawal of AFSPA from 15 police stations in Manipur’s valley districts and leaving the hill people in the lurch clearly demonstrates the parochial attitude of the present government towards the hill people of Manipur.

The release further states that the failure of the government of Manipur to take into consideration the ground reality of the law and order situation with respect to the hills and valley and to present a bias input to the Union Home Ministry has left many of the hill people floundering in disbelief.

In fact, after the 1997 ceasefire with the NSCN and subsequently with Kuki-Chin groups under the aegis of KNO/UPF, relative peace had returned to the Manipur hills. When all is well in the hills, this obvious fact was conspicuously ignored by the government, the release alleged.

The release questioned the tribal ministers and MLAs of inaction and asked why AFSPA was “discriminatorily” removed from the state, adding that the government of Manipur must answer satisfactorily to the hill people.

The student body also stated that it would have been heartening if the hill districts were given the benefit of the removal of the disturbed area tag for a period of six months as a test case and repudiated in the event of its failure like their valley counterparts.

Removal of AFSPA from the state should not be exclusive but inclusive, the student body demanded.

First Published: 13th April, 2022 12:40 IST

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