Monsoon session ends amid protest

The two-day monsoon session of the Manipur Assembly ended on Monday with passing of the Manipur Peoples' Protection Bill, 2018, and the Manipur International University Bill, 2018, and amid protests by students and civil society organisations.

By Ngangbam Indrakanta Singh in Imphal
  • Published 24.07.18
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Protesters in Imphal on Monday. Picture by Ngangbam Indrakanta Singh

Imphal: The two-day monsoon session of the Manipur Assembly ended on Monday with passing of the Manipur Peoples' Protection Bill, 2018, and the Manipur International University Bill, 2018, and amid protests by students and civil society organisations.

The Manipur Peoples' Protection Bill, 2018, which was tabled in the House by chief minister N. Biren Singh on Friday, was passed unanimously, as was the Manipur International University Bill, 2018, which was introduced by education minister Th. Radheshyam, also on Friday.

The Manipur Liquor Prohibition (second amendment) Bill, 2018, moved by deputy chief minister Y. Joykumar Singh, who also holds the excise portfolio, on Friday, was referred to a select committee, comprising law minister L. Jayantakumar and two members each from the ruling and Opposition parties.

The House resolved to withdraw the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill, 2015, and the Manipur Shops and Establishments (Second Amendment) Bill, 2015, passed by the House on August 31, 2015. The two resolutions were moved by Biren Singh.

The All Manipur Women's Social Reformation and Development Samaj (Nupi Samaj) and the Coalition Against Drugs and Alcohol protested on Kangla Road, demanding withdrawal of the liquor bill, which aims to legalise country liquor production in the state.

The Socialist Students' Union Manipur and the women vendors of Khwairamband bazar took out a rally, demanding a bill to protect the indigenous people from influx and decisions in the monsoon session on the Manipur border before a national survey team arrives, transparency in administration of the education department, justice to weight-lifter Sanjita Khumukcham over doping charge and ouster of Manipur University vice-chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey. They also opposed the liquor bill. The protesters tried to push past the barricade to the Assembly but the police stopped them..

A team from the external affairs ministry is scheduled to visit the border in Manipur, along Myanmar, for verification of pillar No. 81 at Kwatha Khunou, Tengnoupal district, on Tuesday. The state government had urged the Centre to survey the pillar following apprehensions and reports that pillar No. 81 had been shifted inside India. Biren Singh told the House on Monday that this was not so and appealed to all - political parties, civil society organisations and locals - to co-operate in the matter.

On the demand to oust Pandey, the Manipur University Students' Union, Manipur Students' Federation, All Manipur Students' Union and the Kangleipak Students' Organisation tried to storm the Assembly from DM College Road side and from Khoyathong in Thangmeiband constituency.

Students and police clashed at DM College western gate, about half-a-kilometre from the Assembly. The protesters pelted stones at the police while the police fired tear gas shells to disperse them. The confrontation began as the Assembly session began and lasted till it ended at 5pm. When the police tried to push the students away, they squatted on the road.

The district magistrates of Imphal West and Imphal East promulgated Section 144 of the CrPC. Biren Singh told the House that the government was trying hard to mete out justice in the matter. He appealed to the inquiry committee constituted by the HRD ministry to start work. He said though the Assembly session had concluded, the government would meet the protesters. He requested all to refrain from spreading baseless news.