ATSUM calls Manipur bandh on January 24
Source: Manipur Mail

Imphal, January 19: The All Tribal Students' Union, Manipur President John Pulamte and Gen Secretary Samson Remei today said that ATSUM is going ahead with its proposed multi-pronged, peaceful and democratic agitation in pursuit of its demand of a 'white-paper' on the issue involving the kidnapping and brutal murder of Lungnila Elizabeth in November 2003 and the setting up of a separate Directorate of Education for the Hill areas, to the government of Manipur.

ATSUM had demanded that the Special Investigation Team set up by the government in connection with Lungnila Elizabeth's case should disclose its progress and findings as the case was keenly watched and looked forward by all sections of the society in Manipur.

Besides, as hundreds of individuals and organizations had put their best efforts in trying to rescue the kidnapped child and also in tracing out the kidnappers.

As such, they have every right to know the status of the investigation and the action taken so far.

The state government, in spite of tall promise is yet to make much headway in the investigation even though one of the suspected kidnappers is under its custody for the last many days.

It is not willing to accept and subscribe to the findings and version of the UNLF, who indirectly bail them out in arresting another suspect and also, the state government is yet to formally approach the NSCN (IM) to demand another suspect involved in the case the hand out said.

The state government should act fast and reveal all it has managed to extract from its investigation and give full-hearted efforts in nailing the culprit and giving a befitting punishment so that the people of the state and the students' community feel secure and safe in their daily life.

ATSUM has demanded from long time back, the revitalization of the state's school education policy.

Reinstating the once functional Directorate of Education for the areas is a must in this regard.

After piles of memoranda and a number of deliberations and discussions with ATSUM delegates, the state government has considered the genuine demands of the tribals and a memorandum of understanding was singed between the state government and ATSUM on November 2, 2003 but, nothing concrete has some out from the government other than issuing an order which put the present in-charge Director of Education (S) as in -charge Additional Director (Hills) in the Directorate of Education with no mentioned of its duties, powers and functions.

This is ridiculous.

Taking note of all these mishandling of case and issues, inordinate delays of justice ATSUM has decided to take up the following forms of peaceful and democratic agitation.

On January 20, 2004 (Tuesday), from 10.00 am until 2.00 pm, there will be a peaceful sit-in-protest all over the state of Manipur particularly in the state capital as well as all district headquarters in the hills.

It appealed to all civil society, students' bodies, NGOs and individual to join us in this protest by organizing their own sit-in-protest in their own locality.

On January 22, 2004 (Thursday), there will be Picketing of Government Office in the hill districts to show our discontentment of, the present government in handling the above-mentioned issues.

January 24, 2004 (Saturday), from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm shall be observed as a Day of Protest through the state of Manipur.

The public of Manipur are requested and expected to stay indoors and desist from all business and office activities.

Anyone going against this shall do so at his or her own risk.

ATSUM shall in no way be held responsible for any eventualities.