As many as 30 students were injured in a clash with police near Imphal’s Mao Market when hundreds of tribal students tried to organize a protest rally in the capital city on Saturday.
Tribal students of various colleges and schools in Imphal converged near the Mao Market in Imphal to take part in the protest rally to press for g immediate unconditional release of five leaders of All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) today, around 10.30 am.
The police tried explaining to them on the restriction in mass gathering in the city area under section 144 of CrPC promulgated in the entire Imphal West district, covering a major portion of the capital city.
However, unheeding to the police’s words, they tried to go ahead with the protest rally. As the police started forcing them to leave the place, some students pelted stones toward them.
As the situation went out of control, the police fired several rounds of tear gas shells and also use mock bombs to disperse the students.
In the melee that lasted for around half an hour, several students sustained minor injuries which needed no medical attention. Some girl students also fainted and were treated by female police personnel.
The tribal students planned to carry out the rally pressing the state government to release ATSUM leaders who were arrested by the police.
A team of Imphal police station picked five leaders of ATSUM, including its president and general secretary, from its office in Imphal ahead of the commencement of a total shutdown call given by the apex body of tribal based student bodies.
ATSUM, along with its constituents, called for total shutdown to press the state government to table Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Bill-2021 recommended by Hill Areas Committee (HAC) of the Manipur Legislative Assembly in the monsoon session of the state Assembly concluded here on Friday.
ATSUM had also rejected two bills seeking amendment to the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971 which were introduced in the house during the monsoon session.
The state Assembly passed the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils (6th Amendment) Bill 2022 but referred the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils (7th Amendment) Bill 2022 to the Hill Areas Committee (HAC) on the last day of the session (on Friday).
Rejecting the bills, ATSUM which started its agitations with total shutdown in hill districts of the state is currently imposing economic blockade in the hill districts. The blockade entered its second day today.
Meanwhile, police on Saturday produced the five arrested leaders of the ATSUM in the court of Imphal West chief judicial magistrate today. The five arrested leaders have been sent to judicial custody for 15 days.
The police produced them in the court, ending their police custody period.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Imphal-bound loaded trucks were stranded in Assam and Nagaland as ATSUM’s agitations also hit normal vehicular movement on the national highways.
Normal plying of vehicles on two main lifelines of Manipur –NH-2 (Imphal-Dimapur section) and NH-37 (Imphal-Jiribam section) remained affected since August 2 evening, the day ATSUM announced a lightning shutdown in hill districts.
The lightning shutdown call was announced to protest against the arrest of five leaders of the ATSUM, including its president and general secretary, by a team of Imphal police station from its office in Imphal.
It was followed by a 24-hour shutdown from the next day. At the end of the shutdown, ATSUM announced an economic blockade in hill districts which also covered the national highways passing through the hill areas of the state.
The economic blockade entered its second day today.