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Strike called in Manipur from Saturday midnight

Imphal: The Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur (Desam) and two Muslim organisations have called a general strike from Saturday midnight till 6 p.m. on Sunday to protest against the “reward” given to an independent legislator who has extended support to the ruling BJP-led coalition.

The Alliance turned down the invitation of Chief Minister N. Biren Singh for talks and decided to go ahead with the general strike.

The general strike is called in a protest against the appointment of Ashab Uddin as Parliamentary Secretary by the Chief Minister. This lone independent from the Jiribam constituency had extended support to the BJP-led coalition ministry for which he was appointed the Parliamentary Secretary.

DESAM and the Joint Committee on Inner Line Permit System (JCILPS) objected to the support for Ashab Uddin.

JCILPS Convener B.K. Moirangcha said, “What Ashab Uddin has done is against the wishes of the people. We will examine his documents.”

DESAM leaders said: “Precious lives had been lost during the agitation for the protection of the indigenous peoples. It is against the wishes of the people to take support from a non-indigenous MLA.”

President of the All Manipur Muslim Welfare Association Abdul said: “The BJP national leaders had announced in Imphal that the framework agreement signed by the Central government and the NSCN(IM) is not against Manipur. Now the NSCN(IM) says that it envisages Naga integration. It amounts to cheating the people and the BJP leaders should clarify it. A white paper should be issued.”

Another Muslim organisation, AMMCOC said that the state`s territory is not safe. The three Inner Line Permit bills should be enacted soon so as to protect the indigenous people.

The general strike comes as a setback to the BJP-led coalition government. BJP national leaders and Biren Singh have been saying that the government will ensure a strike and blockade-free Manipur.

The Chief Minister also suffered a setback when his letter to the tribal activists did not yield results. Eight dead bodies have been in the morgue for the last 562 days demanding the withdrawal of the three Inner Line permit bills. Nine youths were killed during violence. One body had been claimed by the family.

—PTI