A statement said this was in support of the call given by All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur, to boycott the phase two of the government’s ‘Go to the Hills’ campaign.
Several tribal civil society organisations in Senapati district of Manipur have called a 24-hour total shutdown from September 14 midnight. A statement issued after an emergency meeting of the organisations on September 13 said that this was in support of the call given by All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur, to boycott the phase two of the government’s ‘Go to the Hills’ campaign. It warned of ‘drastic action’ against all those who violated the shutdown. Since Manipur’s lifeline National Highway 2 snakes through the hill district of Senapati, lifting of all kinds of commodities, including perishable consumer items, will be affected apart from normal life.
On September 1, the Manipur Legislative Assembly secretariat issued an order inducting nine non-tribal MLAs in the Hill Areas Committee. Following strong objections from tribal bodies, the order was kept in abeyance on September 4. Veteran politician Okram Joy called for an intervention by the President contending that the Speaker had no power to do so. Eventually, the order was withdrawn on September 8.
However, the tribal organisations were not satisfied with these steps. The reason for the withdrawal was not acceptable to them since it was not based on the “Rules of Procedures and Conduct of Business” in the Manipur Legislative Assembly as per Article 371-C. The ‘Go to the Hills’ programme is scheduled to be held in Senapati district on September 15. Chief Minister N. Biren, other Ministers and high officials will attend the function.
Police sources said that security measures have been beefed up to check untoward incidents. Sources said that it was unclear whether the programme would be conducted. All the previous shutdowns called by the civil society organisations in the hill districts were successful.
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