The shutdown had been initiated by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum referring to their arrests as “selective haste of central investigating agencies.”
An “indefinite shutdown” came into effect in Churachandpur district, Manipur from Monday in protest against the arrests of five Kuki-Zomi persons in connection to two cases in the last few days . The shutdown had been initiated by the Indigenous Tribal Leaders’ Forum referring to their arrests as “selective haste of central investigating agencies.”
Whereas, another Kuki-Zomi organisation, Committee on Tribal Unity, based in Kangpokpi district, imposed an “emergency shutdown” on National Highway 37 connecting Silchar and Imphal, to demand the release of those arrested. The body has threatened that if they are not released within 48 hours, it will impose an indefinite shutdown in Kangpokpi district as well.
In the meantime, the closure of schools and colleges in the state, which had been announced last week after tensions escalated in the state’s valley areas, has now been extended till October 5.
Four of the people had been arrested by the CBI on Sunday in connection with the killing of two Meitei youths who had been missing from their homes in Imphal since July 6. These arrests came after widespread and fierce protests in Meitei-dominated valley areas after the photos which appeared to show the dead bodies of the missing two students surfaced last week. Another person Seiminlun Gangte (51) had been arrested by the NIA on September 30 from Kwakta, Bishnupur in connection to an IED car blast on June 21 and a case of transnational conspiracy by Myanmar-Bangladesh-based militant groups was found during preliminary investigation.
Before the violence broke out in the state, Gangte had been working as an English teacher in a private school in Kwakta. On Monday, the principal of VN Model English High School, issued a statement that Gangte had been an employee of the school from February 2, 2018 to May 2, 2023. “He has no involvement in any anti-social activities and has no record of anti-national activities so far as my knowledge is concerned,” the statement said. Gangte’s wife Mangsi said that after the outbreak of violence on May 3, their family had fled to Churachandpur and had been staying in a relief camp ever since. “Since there was no more school, he started working at a hardware store in Churachandpur to earn money. When he was arrested, he had gone to Torbung to pick up goods from a hardware store in Kwakta – owned by the school owner – which he was going to take back to sell in Churachandpur. I have no idea what case they have against him,” she said.