Indefinite Manipur Hill Area Bandh starting July 23
Date : July 21st, 2018 :: By: Joint Tribal Student Bodies

Announcement of Indefinite Manipur Hill Area Bandh to protest against closing down of MU, Moreh terror attack and Churachandpur assault.

With the inaction and outrageous attitude of the state government over the issues of the prolonged and indefinite closing down of Manipur University, July 13 Moreh terror attack and assault of peaceful protesters and student leaders at Churachandpur on July 6, we are left with no option but to resume the previously relaxed indefinite bandh in hill areas of Manipur from 6 a.m. of Monday July 23 to seek justice and protest against the government's mistreatment.

On the issue of the impasse in Manipur University since May 30 due to the agitation of Manipur University Students' Union (MUSU) and Manipur University Teachers' Association (MUTA) for removal of the Vice-Chancellor (VC), Professor Adya Prasad Pandey, we have made our position clear that there should be an inquiry commission or a fact finding committee set up to investigate into the allegations against him and that whether to remove the VC or not should be based on the report of the fact finding committee.

To remove the VC based on him being a 'mayang' or allegations that have been refuted by the VC himself and not yet investigated or substantiated by a competent authority (the fact finding committee) is totally unfair and against natural justice and rule of law.

Professor Pandey has shown high level of efficiency, transparency, integrity and justice without any bias in any manner. Since he became the VC, there have been many positive developments in the university. Reservation policy in staff recruitment and student admissions has been followed as per guidelines without any manipulation or prejudice.

If the agitating students and teachers are adamant that the VC position has to be held by a local person and not 'mayang', then they should demand for decentralisation of the university to make it a state university rather than paralysing the whole affairs of the university and rendering the careers of thousands of Manipur students in jeopardy. The careers of thousands of students already at stake should not be compromised.

Now that the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India has instituted a fact finding committee to investigate into the allegations against the VC, the agitating students and teachers should allow the university to function normally until the committee has completed its inquiry and come up with recommendations based on their fact finding.

The state government, being responsible for law and order, should take up effective measures to facilitate resumption of normal academic and administrative activities in the university.

We strongly condemn the terror attack and attempted mass murder on innocent children, student leader and civilians at Gamnom Veng, Moreh at 2 am on 13 July 2018 allegedly by heavily armed cadres of the Kuki National Organisation / Kuki National Army (KNO/KNA), an armed group under the Suspension of Operation (SoO) with the government of India and government of Manipur. We are disgusted that the government have not even arrested the perpetrators till now.

We are also appalled that the government have not taken up any actions against the violent KSO activists who assaulted TSA Kangvai president, Thangminlun Haokip, and terrorised others during the joint tribal student associations' bandh on 6 July in connection with recruitment of tribal MIL teachers and the impasse in Manipur University.

On that day, the violent volunteers of KSO Churachandpur numbering about 20 led by its general secretary JN Haoneo Baite and information secretary Letminlen Haokip came in a gypsy and a car and pulled down Thangminlun from inside an auto rickshaw and assaulted him. They also stormed Churachandpur police station to attack peaceful bandh volunteers who were detained by the police.

It is strange and appalling that the Addl SP of Churachandpur, Lunkhomang Khongsai alias Mangpu, acted like a team with the violent KSO activists against the peaceful protesters instead of performing his duty to ensure law and order. He also called up TSA-GHQ secretary general and talked in despising way against TSA. Churachandpur police also searched tribal student leaders in their houses the night before the bandh. Why did the police search for student leaders who did nothing wrong but let the violent KSO leaders free to intimidate, chase and assault student leaders and bandh supporters?

While we still anticipate that the KSO and the Addl SP will respond positively to our offer for a peaceful settlement, KSO Churachandpur general secretary JN Haoneo Baite on July 20 went and threatened Churachandpur TSA leader Lenjel Kipgen at Tuibong. Haoneo also threatened that KSO will close Lenjel's shop at Tuibong.

The government must clarify if it authorises the violent KSO Churachandpur to act as a law enforcement agency and threaten, force or assault anyone who does not toe their diktat. If so then it must stop employing policemen at public exchequer and leave the job of law enforcement to the KSO. It is now clear that the violent KSO activists and the Addl SP are not remorseful of their unlawful activities against the peaceful student protesters. It is also clear that the government is encouraging violence as it has not taken up any actions against the violent KSO activists and the Addl SP for their unlawful activities.

When police officers on duty to prevent violent protesters from causing harm have been immediately suspended, why has the government not taken up any actions against the violent KSO activists and the Addl SP in 6 July Churachandpur incident and the perpetrators of 13 July Moreh terror attack?

The government must answer whether it is there to protect the people or partner with some anti-socials, violent militants or terrorists to harm or terrorise civilians, innocent children and women. If not, the government must arrest and punish all the culprits according to the law of the land and also take up preventive measures so that no such attacks occur again in the future.

As we seek justice and lasting peace, public safety and security in the community, we demand that the government:

1. In regards to the Manipur University impasse, we appeal once again to the agitating students and teachers to stop their agitation, and the state government also must make genuine and effective efforts for the return of normalcy in the university before it is too late. Otherwise, tribal students will start to demand affiliation of colleges in the hills to another university.

2. Take up stringent actions against the culprits of Moreh terror attack; immediately arrest all those involved in the attacks and the masterminds behind and bring them all to justice and also remove the group responsible permanently from Moreh and its surrounds.

3. Arrest all the KSO members and all others involved in the assault and terrorising of peaceful protesters and student leaders in Churachandpur on 6 July 2018 and bring them to justice.

4. Give befitting punishment to the Addl SP of Churachandpur and other policemen involved for abetting violence and instigating violent KSO activists against peaceful protesters and tribal student leaders. The government should suspend or transfer them.

We earnestly appeal to the general public and other civil society organisations to support the bandh in larger interest. Media, educational institutions, emergency and essential services such as funeral, medical, religious; water and electricity services will be exempted from the purview of the bandh. If the government continues to fail to meet our demands, we will not stop our agitation until our demands are met.

(Thangtinlen Haokip)
Joint Tribal Student Bodies, Manipur

* This info was sent to by Thadou Students' Association who can be contacted at tsaghq(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This Post is webcasted on July 22 2018

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