Mokokchung, 02 October (MTNews): Amidst ongoing violence and turmoil in Manipur, the Committee on Tribal Unity (COTU), a tribal organization based in the Kuki-dominated Kangpokpi district of Manipur, has imposed an emergency shutdown on National Highway -37 (NH-37) over arrests by central agencies.
The shutdown is scheduled for Tuesday from 6 am to 9 pm and the tribal group has threatened to launch an indefinite shutdown if the Centre failed to immediately release all Kuki-Zo arrested by central agencies.
CoTU impose emergency Shutdown on NH-37 and serves 48 hours ultimatum to Union Home Ministry for selective targeting of Kuki-Zo in Conflict torn State @BDUTT @EastMojo @IndiaToday @NIA_India @CBIHeadquarters @newslaundry @the_hindu @UN #ManipurViolence #MeiteiAtrocities pic.twitter.com/Yv917r9ad8
— COTU (@COTU_Kangpokpi) October 2, 2023
In addition to the shutdown, CoTU has delivered a 48-hour ultimatum to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), urging it to intervene and instruct central agencies to promptly release all Kuki-Zo individuals who have been arrested. They also call for investigations into alleged “Meitei criminals” and their conviction to ensure natural justice.
According to the ultimatum, if the MHA does not respond within 48 hours with measures that satisfy CoTU’s demands, an indefinite shutdown will be imposed across the entire Kangpokpi district.
COTU’s ultimatum came a day after Churachandpur-based Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF) announced an indefinite shutdown in the southern district of Manipur to protest the arrest of the four persons by the CBI and Seiminlun Gangte by the NIA.
CoTU has strongly criticized the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and National Investigation Agency (NIA) for what they perceive as a one-sided approach to justice. They point to the recent arrests of four Kuki-Zo individuals in the Leimatak area and the apprehension of Seiminlun Gangte as evidence of a biased stance taken by the MHA in support of the narrative put forth by the state government.
COTU denounced the arrest of Gangte and alleged that it is “a clear indication of partisan attitude on the part of the Union home ministry.”
Gangte was arrested by the NIA in connection with “transnational conspiracy by Bangladesh and Myanmar-based leadership of terror outfits to wage war against the government of India by exploiting the current ethnic unrest in Manipur” and the Kwakta car bomb blast in June which injured three.
Furthermore, CoTU has called for the arrest of officials and personnel involved in the alleged looting of 6,000 firearms and 600,000 rounds of ammunition from the state’s arsenal. They also demand that the Central government take action against the culprits involved in harrowing incidents such as the parading of victims and the rape and murder of two Kuki-Zo girls.
Additional demands include the apprehension of those responsible for the immolation of a 7-year-old boy and his mother in an ambulance, as well as the arrest of Kishan Shoram and state commandos implicated in the massacre of three Kuki-Zo individuals in the Kangchup area. CoTU claims to possess photographic evidence related to both incidents.