ATSUM Relaxes Its Chain Of Agitation Ahead Of Tribal Program

IMPHAL, Feb 22: All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) has temporarily suspended its chain of agitation against the State Government’s indifference to their charter of demands on account of the “Tribal Cultural Exchange Program 2011” set to begin at Ukhrul from March 4 next.

The tribal students’ body will withhold its series of agitation for the time being on account of the “Tribal Cultural Exchange Program 2011” to be held at Ukhrul headquarters from March 4-6, 2011, said ATSUM information secretary Gaisingam today.

In the beginning of the month, ATSUM resorted to closure of Government institutions and had called a paralyzing 24-hour bandh in all the hill districts of Manipur on February 18 to push the Government in accepting its charter of demands.

“Inspite of representation and repeated reminder and to the extent of resorting to closure of all Government institutions and lately calling a peaceful bandh in the hill districts, the Government far from stirring its conscience has chosen to still remain a mute spectator,” Gaisingam said.

Significantly, ATSUM has long been demanding rectification on issues like inadvertent evading of the Rules of the Manipur Reservation of Vacancies in Post and Service (for SC and ST) Act, 2007 and its objection to 200 point roster as against the earlier 100 points. Extension of the service of contract basis teachers in the hill districts for one academic year, discrimination of STs in the promotion of Leading Firemen, the issue of chief engineer in Public Health Education Department (PHED) etc.

It has also been demanding for the revocation of the State cabinet decision of posting senior Manipur Civil Service officer as executive director of DRDA without due consultation with Hill Areas Committee of the State assembly. It has termed the cabinet decision as devoid of any “rationality and justification” and has demanded for reverting back to the earlier way wherein the concerned Deputy Commissioner of the district was the executive director as prescribed under the Central guidelines.

The issue of new academic calendar ordered to be introduced in the hill districts by the state education board, has been “kept in abeyance until further orders” by a recent order of the Government. ATSUM has demanded a permanent resolution of the government’s attempt to enforce the controversial academic calendar in the hill districts of Manipur.

The tribal students body has been maintaining that the recruitment of SOs in MSRRDA of RD & PR department is in total contravention to the convention practiced by the State Government regarding reservation and therefore not acceptable to the tribal people. It has demanded that either the posts are filled with due representation of the tribals or the whole process be terminated and a new recruitment be initiated.

On issues such as recruitment and promotion of undersecretary and committee officers in the Manipur Assembly Secretariat, staff in engineering cell of the department of school education and in the promotion of leading fire-men to SO under fire services, ATSUM has alleged that these recruitments and promotions are done against the State’s reservation norms and guidelines and has demanded cancellation or rectification with due representation of the tribals. The non accomplishment of reservation rules is construed as an insult to the Act as well as to the deserving communities in question, it had earlier stated.

With no positive response forthcoming from the government till today, ATSUM will recommence its agitations after the Tribal Cultural Exchange Program by employing extreme measures at its disposal, the statement added while appealing to all , particularly tribals, to show solidarity in all possible ways until the legitimate demands are met and justice is done.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express/Newmai News Network)

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