Hill districts rally behind MUTSU, ATSUM
Quota demand echoes in the hills

Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, October 14 2008: Near simultaneous rallies were taken out today in some hill districts in protest against following 7.5 percent reservation for scheduled tribes in Manipur University.

Under the banner "Preservation of tribal rights in Manipur University", a large number of students took out a protest rally at Chandel district Hqs today under the aegis of Naga Students' Union Chandel and All Tribal Students' Union Manipur.

Coming up to the DC office, the rallyists handed over a memorandum signed by 500 students to ADC Lhuminthang Haokip for submission to President of India, Pratibha Patil.

The memorandum highlighted the loss of privileges suffered by tribal students due to the existing reservation policy in Manipur University.

It also conveyed about 470 tribal students of Manipur University leaving its campus.

Students staging a rally at Chandel demanding 34.2 pc reservation in MU

The rallyists also used placards which read as "Don't turn MU into Meitei University", "We demand a separate hill university", "MU is Manipur University not Manipuri University", "34.2 percent is our right" etc.

Students of Ukhrul district belonging to different schools and colleges also took out a rally on the same issue at Ukhrul district Hqs today, reports our correspondent.

The rally organised by Tangkhul Katamnao Saklong was also participated by leaders of MUTSU, ATSUM and ANSAM.

The rally started from two points, TKS office Phungreitang (South Point) and Luiyaitang (North Point).

Later the rallyists assembled at TNL ground where a meeting was held.

There a memorandum drafted for submission to the President of India was read out by student leaders.

S Singlianmang Guite adds from Lamka: The agitating tribal students of Manipur University and ATSUM today took their demand for a better quota in the State's only university to the streets of the hill districts, rallying alongside the local students.

Thousands of students from 24 schools and colleges in the district today staged a parallel rally to coincide with their counterparts in other hill districts and appended their signature on a common memo drafted for the President of India, Pratibha Patil.

"As our elders in Manipur University feel constantly insecure in pursuing their academic courses owing to the prevalence of the unjustified Reservation Policy, all tribal students of the university numbering about 470 left the campus enmasse on October 6", said the memo handed over to the DCs concerned.

Signed by more than four thousand students the memo called on the President for her intervention to resolve their genuine issue.

"When we have thousands of students (tribal) who dream becoming successful in their studies and when they were not given the opportunity what will be the future ahead of them.

What will be the use of studying if they were not given the rights," mulled Lily, a student of the university on the sidelines of the rally.

Placards, calling the existing 7.5 reservation antitribal, laying out conditions for returning to MU and slogans including "Tribals are not Foreigners", "˜Preserve tribal rights for balance society", were flaunted during the rally.

Pledging not to retreat from the 34.2 percent reservation they have demanded for the STs in the university, vice-president of MUTSU, K Humaliabou said it has to be 'this' or a separate university for the hill tribes.

He also blamed the Vice Chancellor for the present row saying the university moved ahead with its recruitment process despite the Chief Minister's counsel to go slow and flouted a deal reached earlier.

K Doukum, president of CDSU, the apex student body in the district and the organisation behind today's rally here said, "CDSU will stand by the MUTSU and ATSUM until that time the genuine demands of the tribals are met".

"This is a common issue for all the tribals, and we will be there till the end," he said.

Azonnah reports from Tamenglong: In Tamenglong district too, students in thousands took out a rally in support to the reservation demand of Manipur University Tribal Students' Union (MUTSU), reports out Tamenglong correspondent.

The rally organised by the Zeliangrong Students' Union Manipur (ZSUM) and Zeliangrong Students' Union Tamenglong District (ZSUTD) took off from mini-stadium, Tamenglong district Hqs and proceeded up to the office of Tamenglong DC where copies of a memorandum addressed to Union Human Resource Development Minister, Chief Minister of Manipur and the Chairman of Hill Areas Committee, Manipur were submitted to the DC.

Besides thousands of Manipuri, Hindi and local dialect speaking students from across Tamenglong district, the rally was also participated by many social and political leaders.

Following assurance from the ADM Tamenglong for positive cooperation, the rallyists prayed for justice and peace before winding up the rally.