As part of the agitation all the offices of the ZEOs in the district headquarters of the hills will be closed from tomorrow while a number of student organisations have announced that they would back any course of agitation taken up against the Government’s decision.
The 24 hour bandh was imposed by the All Manipur Government Aided Elementary Teachers Association and Secretaries of School Managing Committees and started from 6 am today.
The bandh was effective in all the five hill districts and vehicles stayed off the National Highways while vehicles stayed off the roads connecting the district headquarters with other parts of the State.
Government offices in the hill districts as well as banks also remained closed for the day.
Commercial transactions were also severely affected as all business downed shutters and no shops were opened. There is however no report of any bandh related violence.
At Senapati the bandh was spearheaded by local bodies of Senapati headquarters and Karong, Senapati District Students’ Association, Naga Peoples’ Organisation and ATSUM.
Other than vehicles of security forces no other vehicles plied on NH-39 during the bandh. All shops along NH-39 also downed shutters for the day.
Out of the 171 grant-in-aid schools which the Govt had identified to cancel the aid, 102 are located in the hill districts while 59 are located in the valley area.
In Senapati district, there are three Grant-in-aid High Schools and three Grant-in-aid Junior High Schools. There is not even a single Government High school in this district.
Voicing a strong stand against the decision of the Government to cancel the aid to the grant-in-aid schools, the Thadou Students’ Union today warned that if the Got does not withdraw its decision then it would be constrained to launch a series of agitation.
Secretary of Senapati district school board Y Joseph said that they cannot accept the decision of the Government to cancel the aid to grant-in-aid schools.
The chairman of Sena-pati Town Committee A John said that cancelling the aid would amount to robbing the students of the hills their rights.
ATSUM expresses concern
Imphal, Jul 30: The All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) after a series of meetings in the hill districts with the district head bodies and other like minded organizations concluded that the situation in the five hill districts has gone from bad to worse with the little cosmetic development that are seen in the district headquarters, stated Joseph R Hmar, Secretary of Information and Publicity, ATSUM, in a press release here on Wednesday.
Accusing the State Government for the little cosmetic development in the district headquarters, Joseph exposed that education was the worst affected due to the lack of teachers and proper infrastructure, poor programmes and policies for teachers and students, lack of commitment and vision. He also alleged that education as a fundamental rights of the hill people was grossly violated by the State Government. He further stated that ATSUM and districts student bodies had an in-depth discussion over the last ten days and has called on a press conference on July 31 at the Information Centre, Old Lambulane, Imphal, inviting all the concerns especially the media to discuss the matter.
The demands of the Union are related to the Manipur University, shortage of teachers, contract basis teachers and grant-in-aid schools, stated the press release. The release also disclosed the tentative lines of agitation that the union is planning to undertake. These are wearing black badges, bandhs, boycotting Independence Day and closure of schools.