Manipur ADC elections: tribal student body threatens to launch agitations

Correspondent IMPHAL, NOV 29 | Publish Date: 11/29/2020 11:55:46 AM IST
A tribal student body on Sunday threatened to launch its deferred agitations against non-holding of elections to the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in hill districts of Manipur.
All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) has been pressing the state government for the timely conduct of elections to the six ADCs in hill districts.
The entire 10 hill districts of the state are covered by six ADCs –Chandel, Ukhrul, Senapati, Sadar Hills, Tamenglong and Churachandpur. 
The term of the office of the current ADCs which were extended for six months since the terms expired in May 2020 were to expire on November 30.
A cabinet meeting convened by chief minister N Biren Singh on November 10 last resolved to hold the due elections timely without extending the term of office of the ADCs further.
The decision not to extend the ADCs’ term was taken in the backdrop of an agreement which was inked between ATSUM and state government on November 4 last.
Following the agreement, ATSUM deferred its planned agitations of calling for a 48-hour inter-state bandh and complete ban on the implementation of all ongoing national projects in the hill districts.
Addressing a press conference at ATSUM office in Imphal today, the apex body of tribal student bodies in Manipur alleged that even as the term of office of the ADCs is due to expire tomorrow, no step for conduct of the elections were taken up on the part of the state government.
Alleging that the state government was doing nothing to hold the due elections, ATSUM general secretary SR Andrea warned that such irresponsible attitude of the state government will invite the student body to launch its deferred agitations.
He demanded a clarification on whether the state government is planning to extend the term of office of the ADCs further or going to keep the ADCs in an uncertain state without extending the term and holding the due elections.
If the state government fails to come up with a clarification at the earliest, ATSUM with the support of hill based CSOs and tribal people will launch various forms of agitations, he said.
He reminded of the suspension of agitations planned by ATSUM earlier and said that they had deferred the planned agitations believing the assurance given by the state government on November 4 last. ATSUM will not accept extension of the term of the ADCs at any cost as it would be against the wishes of the tribal people of the state.
He alleged that the state government was trying to suppress the democratic rights of the tribal people by not holding the ADC elections timely.
“Don’t test the patience of the tribal people. Government should not take the patience of the tribal people as their weakness,” he added.
The apex body first announced the commencement of the agitation from October 26, only to defer it for ten days after talks with the government.
After an agreement was reached with the government on November 4, ATSUM deferred the proposed agitations indefinitely believing the assurance given by the state government.

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