The JACAATB today held an emergency meeting to discuss the matter and swiftly announced a total shutdown in the town area for five hours beginning 1 pm. Tomorrow being a Sunday and the 12 hours bandh imposed by JACAATB just winding up last-night, the impromptu shutdown today has sent people scampering for essential items.
The now gutted shed, housed nine coffin models each meant to embody the nine ‘tribal martyrs’ whose bodies are still lying at the hospital mortuary. Their photos, posters and slogans besides the floral bouquet placed by people who paid their tributes also adorn the model coffins.
It is not clear how the fire originated but many have ruled out an electrical short-circuit as the electrical switches and change-overs are still clearly intact.
An FIR has been lodged with the police and a case under section 435/436/34 of the IPC has been registered by Churachandpur police station.
The JACAATB later today convened a press conference at Lamka Press Club and articulated their ire on the fire at Salpha Pumbuk. Whoever has committed the arson is a coward and an enemy of the tribal people said the JAC. ‘We are not people who cremate the dead and burning down the model coffins is the highest act of arson and disrespect to the people which we cannot accept,’ said Ginthang a JAC member who addressed the press.
He thanked the public for bearing with them and supporting the impromptu total shutdown despite the great inconveniences it may have caused.
The JACAATB has also called upon the people, individuals and social organisations to come forward on Monday and contribute whatever they can to rebuild the Salpha Pumbuk.
The JAC leader also called on the law enforcing agencies to track down the culprit behind the midnight arson and hand them over to the public.
Meanwhile, the localities where the Martyrs’ Shed was located today came out strongly against the arson at the Salpha Pumbuk and called on the perpetrators to come-out in the public within one week. The people of the locality took the arson as an attempt to shatter the village and an attempt to insult them besides an insult to the Martyrs and pledged to deal with the issue accordingly.