ATSUM’s 24 Hrs Hill Districts Bandh From Tomorrow

The shaded area denotes the hill districts. Image Credit: Sangai Photo.

IMPHAL, Feb 16: The All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) said today that it has been compelled to go ahead with a 24-hour bandh in all the hill districts of Manipur on February 18 in protest against the Government’s indifference to their charter of demands.

“In view of the indifferent and resolute stand taken by the State Government against the legitimate demands of the tribals, ATSUM is compelled to call a 24-hour bandh in all the hill districts starting from midnight of January 17 and to midnight of January 18,” Robert Leivon, assistant general secretary of ATSUM said.

In the beginning of this month, ATSUM had intensified its protest by resorting to closure of government institutions/offices in all the five hill districts of the state on not being responded to positively by the government to their demands.

“ATSUM has been closing down all Government offices in all the hill districts to stir the conscience of the Government…but the Government has chosen to remain a mute spectator to the grievances of the tribals,” Leivon said. The tribal rights body will never flinch from its position and will continue to pursue its demands, Robert Leivon said.

The student body said it has long been demanding rectification of issues like side stepping 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.

ATSUM has also been demanding the revocation of the State Cabinet’s 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’s decision as devoid of any “rationality and justification” and has demanded its reversal to the earlier way wherein the Deputy Commissioners of the district concerned 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 the earlier notification of December 7, 2009, until further orders”. ATSUM has demanded that a permanent solution with regard to the academic calendar must be sought by the Government.

The recruitment of SOs in MSRRDA of RD & PR department in total contravention to the convention practiced by the State government regarding reservation is not acceptable to the tribal people, it said, adding that the reply coming from the concerned minister as against clarification sought to that effect lacked logic and “we condemn in highest level”.  It has demanded that either the posts are filled with due representation of the tribals or terminate the whole process and recruit new SOs with proper representation.

On issues such as recruitment and promotion of undersecretary and committee officers in the Manipur assembly secretariat, staffs in engineering cell of the department of school education and in the promotion of leading firemen 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 said.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express / Newmai News Network )

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