NEW DELHI: A complete chakka bandh or blockade has been called from February 1 for five days to register strong protest against the government in Manipur .

The Joint Action Committee Against the Anti-tribal Bills supported by other tribal bodies including the United Naga Council has called the bandh. The blockade will be on all highways passing through the tribal territories of Manipur as well as all national projects.

The decision to call the blockade was arrived at during the JAC’s 5th consultative meeting held recently. It was attended by all major tribal groups of the State including the United Naga Council and the Autonomous District Council Sadar Hills. The meeting also resolved that the tribals of Manipur should abstain from attending Indian Republic Day celebration on January 26 as an act on non-cooperation movement.

A statement of the JAC said the Manipur government has refused to acknowledge the tribal rights and privileges enshrined in the Constitution of India and the Central government has turned a blind eye to the plight of the tribal people.

Speaking to The Citizen, the national convenor of the Joint Action Committee(JAC) H Mangchinkhup, said “I know and the people of Manipur are also aware that there will difficulties due to the bandh. But they understand the reason behind it and they all are with us”.

It further said that due to the failure of the Manipur government regarding the issues relating to the “three anti-tribal bills”, and the State cabinet’s admittance on December 29, 2015 in front of the JAC delegation team that the three bills are agenda driven, it is clearly evident that there is constitutional breakdown and abject failure of governance in the State which is more than enough ground for the immediate imposition of the President’s Rule and that the JAC should convey the same to the Central government.

It was also resolved that the MDCs of the Autonomous District Council Churachandpur being the local government representing the people, should be made an active part of the tribal movement by initiating the process of canvassing the support of other hill district as well as entrusting them with all issues relating to filing of FIR by the families of the nine tribal martyrs which will be initiated within three days after deliberating the same with the JAC.

“ We have decided to organise dharnas outside the morgue from time to time and educate the masses on the current issues and developments and that a JAC think-tank comprising of like-minded elders and intellectuals from different tribal communities of Manipur should be formed, that has also been decided by the JAC” said Mangchinkhup.

Meanwhile, during the consultation many speakers opposed the idea of boycotting national level events as it may not go down well with the Centre. Mangchinkhup said boycotting the Indian Republic Day will not be in our favour as our protest are under the ambit of the Indian Constitution and democratic exercises.

He said we should avoid or drop the word ‘boycott” as we are not anti-indians, but we have the right to abstain from the event and as such use the word ‘abstain instead of boycott.’ He said we must continue on the democratic path.