NEW DELHI: The Joint Action Committee (JAC) in Manipur, while marking the 200th day of its movement against the anti-tribal bills, has announced several steps to intensify the agitation. The list includes a 15-hour shutdown of Lamka and adjoining areas.

A JAC statement,issued by its Information and Publicity department, said the programmes include a 15-hour total shutdown of Lamka ,the centre of the ongoing tribal movement against the land legislations perceived as discriminatory. It said that all shops and establishments will remain closed, vehicles will not ply on the road from the midnight of March 17 till 3pm of March 18, as a mark of respect and mourning for the nine tribal protesters who were killed in police firing.

The JAC has called for a gun salute to the tribal martyrs, with tribal licenced gun-owners asked to fire their guns into the air (using gun powder) from their respective homes at 9am on March 18. It also said homage to the tribal martyrs and a mass prayer for the movement will be held from 5pm at the Lamka Public Ground.

Talking to The Citizen, Editor of The Lamka Post, an english newspaper Th. Thangzalian said, “ This is all is expected. The public is disappointed and want a solid action plan from the of the government. However nothing to their satisfaction has come up. The offers made by the government till now are totally unacceptable.”

According to the JAC, March 18 will mark the 200th day of “unrelenting struggle for justice and continued fight for tribal land, rights and identity.”The three anti-tribal bills were passed by the state Assembly on August 31, 2015. It said “Nine tribal brave hearts gave their lives in a supreme sacrifice for the tribal cause, becoming tribal martyrs. Their mortal remains still await an acceptable solution for their fellow tribals and honourable burial.”

It said “With the union government in New Delhi and the State government in Imphal still refusing to acknowledge our anguish, and claims for what is rightfully ours as enshrined in the Constitution of India, the JAC intends to continue the struggle until such time as favourable solution is achieved.”

Speaking to The Citizen, the Chief Convenor of the JAC H.Mangchinkhup, said, “ This is not to seek compensation. This is a battle of honour. People have laid down their life for a purpose. The government will have to understand the sentiments and insecurities behind the agitation”.

Since the movement started and the nine protesters killed while protesting the three ‘anti-tribal’ bills that were passed by the Manipur State Assembly on August 31, 2015, these nine people considered martyrs awaiting funeral.

Since the day, the bills were passed, protestors, mainly from tribal organisations in the hills of the state, torched five houses belonging to Congress lawmakers. These included the houses of state Health and Family Welfare Minister Phungzathang Tonsing and Lok Sabha member from OuterManipur Thangso Baite in Churachandpur district.

While protesting over this issue many locals got injured while nine got killed. The bodies of these nine people have not yet been cremated as mark of protest.

The Delhi chapter of Manipur has also been on constant protest in the capital at Jantar Mantar. On the first day of the last Parliament session the members of the Delhi Chapter took out a mock funeral procession of nine killed with false coffin boxes to draw the attention towards the problem from Jantar Mantar to Lok Sabha.