Kangpokpi: The 12-hour total shutdown called by All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) in the hill districts of the State crippled normal life in Kangpokpi as well apart from other hill districts in the state.
The total shutdown began as early as 6 am in the morning in Kangpokpi district like the rest of the hill districts.
All business establishments in Kangpokpi District Headquarters were seen closed for the day while educational institutions as well were seen shut down except those conducting examinations.
The National Highway -2 connecting the State capital Imphal with the rest of the world also wore a deserted look as no vehicles including commercial vehicles were off the road except those exempted from the purview of the total shutdown. However, no untoward incidents were reported till the filing of this report.
ATSUM Social and Culture Secretary, Paul said that the State Government had verbally approached the ATSUM through some hill representatives for talks but ATSUM did not receive any official intimation or invitation through proper channels so far.
ATSUM also considers talks without commitment as purposeless or inefficacious, so, we went ahead with the proposed total shutdown to show our disappointment over the RIMS authority’s adamant attitude in materializing the tripartite’s ‘Memorandum of Agreement’ signed on April 3, he added.
Responding to a query with regards to the RIMS Director’s appeal to hold the protest for a time being, Paul said that it was just an “appeasement policy” on the part of the RIMS authority.
He said that there was no official appealing letter received at the office of the ATSUM and the appeal of the RIMS Director came in the media lately when the ATSUM had already prepared everything for the total shutdown while adding that there was already no time for the ATSUM to informed its subordinates and federating units to put on hold the proposed stir.
Therefore, the appeal of the RIMS Director at the eleven hours has been considered as an “appeasement policy” by the ATSUM, he added.
In connection with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, North East Section directive to the RIMS authority, the ATSUM executive said that the Ministry was just conveying the RIMS authority about the process initiated over the RIMS reservation imbroglio while adding that it was not a solution or addressing the demands of the ATSUM.
“The Ministry directive has no clarity and it was very confusing for the union,” Paul added. Mention may be made that, the RIMS Director, H. Priyosakhi, yesterday appealed to ATSUM to put its proposed bandh on hold for the time being as the RIMS authority has been awaiting clearance from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
A few hours later after the RIMS Director appealed, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (North East Section) invited the attention of the RIMS Director over the issue of the Reservation Policy in Group C and D posts in RIMS, Imphal in the wake of the resumption of agitation by ATSUM.
The Ministry also directed the RIMS Director to furnish the relevant details, especially those related to the tripartite agreement signed on April 3 to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.
It also reminded the RIMS Director that the matter of reservation policy for Group C and D posts in RIMS is already under examination in the Ministry in light of DoPT guidelines and requested the RIMS authority not to take any precipitate decision at the level of the institute on such matters until a considered decision is conveyed by the Ministry.
Meanwhile, the ATSUM executive also said that no decision on the further course of action has been decided as ATSUM along with its subordinates and federating units will put its head together and decide the further course of action to be initiated.
ATSUM in its press communique late in the afternoon today stated that in fact, the total shutdown was a testament to how aggrieved the tribal people of Manipur are and it was the first phase of resentment shown by the tribal community.
It also stated that despite the tripartite agreement (MoA) signed between the state government, ATSUM, and RIMS Authority on April 3, wherein RIMS Authority agreed to cancel the RIMS Notice dated March 3 last for appointment to post of LDC and declare fresh results with reservation as SC (3 pc), OBC (13 pc) and ST (34 pc) based on DPC already conducted, the RIMS authority remained adamant and failed to implement the MoA deliberately, it added.
Meanwhile, ATSUM also appreciated the support and endorsement given by all tribal organizations of the hill districts in the course of this struggle to uphold the rights of the tribal people in the state of Manipur while conveying regret for any inconveniences caused during the enforcement of the agitation.
It then stated that ATSUM will continue to fight till justice is rightfully served to the tribal people of the state and further necessary steps to be taken for fulfillment of its demand will be discussed and announced soon.