The “total shutdown” called by major militant outfits opposing the “forced merger” of Manipur with Union of India brought life in the state to a standstill on Tuesday.
The shutdown which came into effect from 6 am Tuesday was called by Alliance for Socialist Unity, Kangleipak (ASUK), an umbrella of several militant groups operating in the state. Similarly, Cor Com, another umbrella group, also called a general strike from 6 am to 6 pm.
In response to the call, educational institutions, including schools and colleges remained closed, and all business activities came to a halt. Public transport systems including inter-state and inter-district passenger services were suspended. Heavy security measures were deployed in several parts of the Imphal valley. However, no untoward incidents have been reported so far.
Even as government offices remained open, the attendance was reportedly lower than usual. However, the number of employees attending the offices is said to be higher compared to previous instances of strikes or shutdown.
Recently, Manipur government ordered for deduction of a day’s salary of 223 employees for taking unauthorised leave as they were found absent during a statewide bandh called by a proscribed militant group.
On this day in 1949, Manipur, along with Tripura, was merged with the Union of India following a merger-agreement signed on September 21 that year by Bodhachandra, the then Maharaja of the erstwhile state of Manipur. The militant groups operating in the state claim that the Maharaja had signed the “infamous” merger agreement under duress.
The militant groups alleged that the Indian “colonial rule” since the merger is continuously trying to subjugate the state socio-politically and culturally. India is also plotting many schemes to wipe out the identity of the indigenous people, they claimed