Total shutdown imminent if talks fail today: KSO


Though the proposed 36 hours total shutdown on National Highway-2 has been put on hold subsequent to the government’s invitation for talks scheduled on Monday, Kuki Students’ Organisation (KSO) Sadar Hills announced that it will go ahead with the siege of the highway in case no substantial breakthrough is achieved during the parleys.

KSO had announced to launch the agitation from 6 am of January 8 but kept the stir plan on hold following the government assurance to hold talks with the student body on Monday morning.

However, the 36 hours total shutdown will begin automatically from 6 am of January 9 if the talks fail, said the students’ body.

The decision to relax the proposed shutdown was taken after social welfare minister Nemcha Kipgen and youth affairs and sports minister Letpao Haokip intervened and initiated to hold talks with the state government over the demands of the student body.

KSO had decided to impose the total shutdown along National Highway 2 in connection with controversies surrounding establishment of National Sports University over land ownership, which it claimed has been creating misunderstanding among the people of L Tangnaum village in Kangpokpi district and its neighbouring villages in Imphal West district.

The organisation had already announced on December 22 its decision to impose the shutdown so as to provide an opportunity to the people of Manipur to revise their travel plan, if any, while reiterating its decision on Saturday to go ahead with the shutdown.

Speaking to media persons on Sunday afternoon, KSO president Thangminlen Kipgen iterated that the plan for the total shutdown along from January 8 was relaxed subsequent to the intimation by the government to hold talks on Monday over the issue of National Sports University.

He continued that a joint meeting with ministers Nemcha and Letpao and KSO, Sadar Hills was held in the presence of representatives of KSO-GHQ wherein the two ministers requested KSO, Sadar Hills to withdraw the total shutdown on the ground that they would initiate talks with the Chief Minister over the issue.

“Even though we feel that the late response of the state government was not appreciable it is necessary that in the interest of the public resolving the NSU issue is unavoidable,” Thangminlen said, adding that KSO also gives high regards to the initiatives of the two ministers and hence decided to relax the total shutdown.

He said that ignoring gravity of the situation and tension enveloping over the National Sports University by the government has now become a potential threat to the mutual understanding and love among the hill and valley people while adding that many unfortunate incidents had already occurred in past over the issue in addition to the recent one on December 16, 2017 during which villagers of Senjam Chirang and Senjam Khunou burnt down the wooden bridge, the only lifeline of L Tangnaum village.

The KSO president further said that even after that ugly incident the BJP-led coalition government failed to address grievances of L Tangnaum village, whose only connectivity had been damaged in broad daylight.

While it is disheartening that the government undermined the need to repair the bridge on humanitarian ground even after a week of the incident, KSO reconstructed the bridge and inaugurated the same on December 22, he informed.

Thangminlen iterated that the reconstruction of the bridge is a message to the state government that they are not the only source of ‘our livelihood that we can manage thing on our own if the need arises and it is also to exhibit our protest against the government negligence and discriminatory attitude’.

“To register our protest against the negligence of the state government in resolving the issue of National Sports University and the discriminatory attitude towards the people of L Tangnaum village in particular and Kangpokpi district as a whole the decision to impose 36 hours total bandh was taken in a joint meeting of CSOs,” asserted Thangminlen Kipgen.

He also desired that state government take the initiative to bring amicable solution during Monday’s talks for the sake of peace and welfare of the people and appealed to the people of Manipur to pray that the talks end on a positive note.

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