Economic blockade inevitable: ATSUM

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SENAPATI/IMPHAL, February 14 (NNN): Economic blockade in Manipur is inevitable now with the Emboi Serto led  All Tribal Students Union, Manipur (ATSUM) turned down the talk offer of the Manipur Government today.

ATSUM has planned to impose indefinite economic blockade in all the national highways leading to Manipur from Sunday.

“We will only accept the Government invitation for talk only after the latter implements some of our demands,” ATSUM speaker David Choro informed Newmai News Network tonight. He also said that every year the State Government has been giving assurances to address the tribal related issues plaguing in Manipur “but till date nothing concrete is witnessed.”

Given this stand of ATSUM, the indefinite economic blockade is inexorable as the State Government will not be able to move things in just one day i.e Saturday.

“We would like to see the State Government of Manipur start moving files and implement atleast some of our demands. Then only we will come down to the state capital Imphal for talks,” asserted David Choro, adding, “For how long can the tribal people go on like this fooled by the State Government”. The ATSUM leader further stated, “Enough is enough. We are not one element easily gets smitten by the lip-service of the State Government.”

Meanwhile, all the ATSUM volunteers led by the Union`s top functionaries are now stationed in the `strategic locations` readying to impose the indefinite economic blockade, according to another ATSUM source.

The State Government source, on the other hand informed NNN that few days ago it had invited the ATSUM for talks to be held today. “But the student body representatives did not turn up for the talks,” rued the source.

“I have no idea about the talks,” said ATSUM president Emboi Serto talking to NNN from a location in the hill district.

It may be recalled here that on February 1, the ATSUM led by its president Emboi Serto had threatened Manipur Government that it would opt for indefinite economic blockade in tribal areas beginning February 16 if the tribal student body’s pending demands are not met at the earliest.

All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) had held a sit-in protest in front of MBC Church, Chingmeirong here on that day calling the state Government for fulfillment of its long-pending demands and threatened it would go for indefinite economic blockade if the Government fails to settle with the union at the earliest.

“Manipur Government has ignored our demands. We‘ll wait its response for some more days and then we will impose economic blockade in the tribal inhabited areas of Manipur from February 16 if our demands are not met,” ATSUM general secretary Marahang had said.

ATSUM had urged the Government to meet its demands such as rules for reservation, separate directorate of education for the hill, adherence to reservation norms while recruiting contract lecturers and adhoc teachers in the Education Department, decentralization of the Tribal Affairs & Hills, solution for the problems confronting the Indira Gandhi Tribal University, and devolution of powers to the Autonomous District Councils (ADCs), among others.

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