TODAY -

MST bus service resumes, fail to reach destinations
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, December 23 2023: As the Manipur State Transport (MST) bus service along Imphal-Kangpokpi-Mao and Imphal-Churachandpur routes resumed on Saturday after a long gap amid the nearly eight months old violence, the MST buses on both the routes returned to Imphal without their reaching destinations due to roadblocks by Kuki people.

As per order of the chief secretary issued on December 21, one MST bus for Imphal-Kangpokpi-Mao route left North AOC for Mao with five passengers belonging to Mao and Tangkhul communities.

Another MST bus for Imphal-Churachandpur route too parked at Malom from early morning left without any passenger.

Both the buses left their respective departure points at 10 am with heavy security.

The government order designated IGP (zone III) Nishit Kumar Ujjawal as the security in-charge for Imphal-Kangpokpi-Mao route.

After reaching the destination (Mao), the MST bus for the route was scheduled to pick passengers from Senapati district headquarters and return back to Imphal.

However, the bus could not move further than Kanglatongbi as large number of Kuki-Zo people blocked the NH-2 road and frisked every vehicle moving along the highway.

Adequate security personnel were deployed in the area but no action was initiated to disperse the people.

Unable to move any further towards Kangpokpi, the MST bus returned back to Imphal after de-boarding the passengers at Kanglatongbi.

IGP (zone II) Kabib K was designated security in-charge for the Imphal-Churachandpur route as per the government order issued on December 21.The MST bus for the route left Malom without any passenger and the bus has to return back to Imphal after picking up passengers from Torbung.

However, the empty MST bus could not move further than Phougakchao Ikhai and eventually returned back to Imphal without any passenger.

Notably, Churachandpur based Kuki-Zo body ITLF as well as Kangpokpi based Committee on Tribal Unity (CoTU) have strongly condemned the December 21 government order and warned of blocking the highways completely.

Both the Kuki-Zo apex bodies termed the government order as an attempt to create tension ahead of Christmas festival and demanded immediate cancellation of the order.

Meanwhile, driver of the MST bus for Imphal-Mao route told media persons that the government's decision to resume public transport service along the route was a good step and people should support the decision positively.

The driver also appealed to the public not to target MST buses and while urging for restoring normalcy in the state.

A passenger named Gaijinglung Maring, who boarded the MST bus for Imphal-Kangpokpi-Mao route, told media persons that she was happy on the resumption of public transport service along the route and accordingly boarded the bus.

Lauding the government's step, the passenger said she wants public transport service to continue along the route and other routes as well.

Our Kangpokpi correspondent adds that government's attempt to resume MST bus service with security convoy along National Highway-2 (Imphal-Kangpokpi-Mao route) was foiled as enraged mobs came out on the street to confront any movement of the convoy at various locations from Gamgiphai to Kangpokpi district headquarters.

Even, the Governor's programme to inaugurate pre-fabricated houses at Champhai was also cancelled owing to the volatile situation.

The irate mobs also imposed emergency shutdown in Kangpokpi district headquarters and all shops and business establishments in the district headquarters were closed.

Though vehicular movement was not restricted, intense frisking and checking were carried out along the highway at Gamgiphai and Kangpokpi district headquarters.

Even village volunteers with their licensed arms also came out on the street intensifying the public movement.

It was reported that the MST bus from Imphal with few passengers was emptied somewhere in Kanglatongbi and the passengers were shifted to a private Senapati/Mao passenger bus.

It may be recalled that CoTU Sadar Hills asked the state government to cancel the public notice issued on December 21.On other hand, CoTU spokesperson Kaiminlen Sitlhou said that the committee considered the forced normalisation of the present situation as a deliberate attempt to cover up the state government's eight-month-long "sinister design".

He said that the government notice was uncalled for as passage of vehicular movement along NH-2 road was never hindered by the Kuki-Zo people.

According to Kaiminlen Sitlhou, chief minister N Biren is hell-bent on disrupting Christmas festivity of Christian minorities by trying to reignite animosity in the already volatile situation.

Such a prescriptive policy to appease one community over the other is unacceptable to the Kuki-Zo community.

Kuki-Zo people will intensify scrutiny of vehicular movement along the Imphal-Kang-pokpi-Mao route, he warned.


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