TODAY -

'CoTU, ITLF don't carry tribal people's mandate'
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 17 2024: The All Tribal Students' Union Manipur (ATSUM) has categorically stated that neither the Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) nor the Indigenous Tribal Leaders' Forum (ITLF) carry the mandate of all the tribal communities.

Talking to The Sangai Express over telephone, some ex-functionaries of ATSUM said that both CoTU and ITLF belong to a single tribal community exclusively and ATSUM does not share any connection with any of them.

The term of the incumbent office bearers of ATSUM expired in September last year.

Since then, no election could be held to elect a new batch of office bearers, they said.

Notably, the infamous Tribal Solidarity March held on May 3, 2023 at all hill district headquarters was organised by ATSUM.



'CoTU, ITLF don't carry tribal people's mandate'
'CoTU, ITLF don't carry tribal people's mandate'


Even though the rally ended peacefully in all Naga dominated areas, it turned violent at Churachandpur and soon spread to Moreh and Kangpokpi.

Between May and August last year before the term of the incumbent office bearers ended, ATSUM did not issue a single statement or comment on the widespread violence which stemmed from the rally they organised.

When The Sangai Express raised questions on their silence during the telephonic talk, the ex-func- tionaries of ATSUM said that the tribal solidarity march ended peacefully at Senapati, Tamenglong, Ukhrul, Chandel and other places but the rally turned violent at Churachandpur and it soon spread to Moreh and Kangpokpi.

Soon after the eruption of the widespread violence, the political demand for separate administration became the central issue, further said the former functionaries of ATSUM.

They maintained that ATSUM does not represent a single community but it was working in a democratic manner to address the grievances of all tribal communities.

Both CoTU and ITLF represent a single community.

Since the two organisations raised the political demand of separate administration, there was no room for ATSUM's involvement, they said.

As the issue took a different turn after May 3, ATSUM thought it wise to keep silent.

The situation was quite sensitive and it could turn uglier had ATSUM made any statement or commented, said the ex-functionaries.

There is no question of ATSUM working together with CoTU or ITLF.

Rather both CoTU and ITLF have a tendency to suppress ATSUM, they said.

"Although it is difficult for ATSUM members to come together under the prevailing situation, we have been working to revive ATSUM in consultation with senior leaders and other stakeholders", they further said.

Meetings were convened three/four times to revive ATSUM but all these meetings could not yield the desired result as the members could not come together, the ex-functionaries said.

There is a convention within ATSUM under which different posts are held by Kukis and Nagas alternately, they added.


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