Tribal students drop stir threat after Govt plea, assurance

IMPHAL,8th Oct: ATSUM general secretary Seiboi Haokip has informed that the three tribal student bodies, namely, ATSUM, ANSAM and KSO have withdrawn the call for imposition of a five-day long economic blockade along the national highways demanding resolution of MU issue, after an agreement was reached during the talks with the state government.

According to leaders of the hill based student bodies, during the dialogue, the state government had requested them not to go ahead with the proposed economic blockade saying the “government is trying its best to resolve the Manipur University impasse”. The tribal student leaders said the state government requested them to give another “small time period” to address the issue. The hill based student leaders further said that the state government told them that the latter was seriously noting the issues raised by the former.

Addressing a press conference at ATSUM office located at Tribal Research Institute, Chingmeirong Monday, Seiboi recalled that on October 1, the three students bodies convened a meeting, wherein they demanded resolution of the prevailing issue at MU within a week, while cautioning of launching a five-day economic blockade from October 9, in case of failure to meet their demand.

On Sunday, the state government invited the student bodies for talks following which a meeting was held at the CM’s secretariat at around 5 pm. During the meeting, the student bodies urged the state government to resolve the issue at MU at the earliest and for opening a separate Hill Central University, considering the fact that various issues plagued MU every year and affects the education of many students, he added. As no consensus was reached during the meeting, another round of meeting was held on Monday at around noon.

During the meeting, the government assured to resolve the ongoing issue at MU as soon as possible. With regard to a separate Hill Central University, the state government gave assurances of either upgrading the present Indira Gandhi Tribal University into a full-fledged university or to urge the Centre for establishment of a separate University, the general secretary conveyed.

Appreciating the BJP government for taking up steps to end MU issue and for establishment of a separate Central University for the hills, Seiboi informed that the three student bodies have withdrawn the call for the economic blockade that was supposed to begin from October 9.

ATSUM finance secretary SR Andrea conveyed that the state government has assured to fulfil the 22-point charter of demands concerning lack of healthcare, education and tribal constitutional rights in the hills. He then lauded the formation of a 5-member committee headed by additional chief secretary MH Khan as chairman, secretary Athem Muivah as convener and three other members, with the purpose of looking into the matter.

The other members of the committee are Rakesh Ranjan (Principal Secretary) , Vumlunmang Vualnam (Principal Secretary) and H Deleep Singh (Commissioner ). According to the order of the state sovernment, the committee “will examine the feasibility of implementation of charter of demands raised by the tibal student organisations and submit a report within one month's time after due consultation with the departments concerned".

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