Manipur govt offices witness thin presence following tribal body's shutdown call

IANS Photo

Imphal, February 19 (IANS) Manipur government offices in tribal dominated Churachandpur and neighbouring Pherzawl districts witnessed thin attendance on Monday despite government’s warning to take action if the staff go on unauthorised absence responding to the call of the Indigenous Tribal Leaders Forum (ITLF).

The ITLF, an apex body of tribals in Manipur -- issued a ‘public notice’ announcing that all state government offices located in the Churachandpur district will remain closed on Monday 19 until further notice.

The ITLF called the shutdown, demanding withdrawal of the suspension of a policeman, who was reportedly seen with armed men in a video grab.

Some employees went to the offices but later returned after finding that most of their colleagues remained absent.

Educational, health and financial institutions, markets, private and commercial establishments, however, remained open and they were not affected as these are out of the purview of the shutdown.

Offices wore a deserted look in Churachandpur and Pherzawl districts, inhabited mostly by Kuki-Zo tribal community people.

Manipur government Chief Secretary Vineet Joshi on Sunday in an order directed all government employees to attend offices and in case of any violation of the orders, the person concerned without any exception shall be booked and prosecuted under relevant provision of law of land for the time being in force.

“No work, no pay’ norms shall also be enforced by all the state government offices/institutions against those employees who do not attend their official duty without authorised leave.

All Central and state government authorities and management authorities of institutions/ establishment/autonomous bodies are also advised to ensure strict attendance of staff and students as usual,” the order said.

The Chief Secretary said that all District Magistrates and Superintendents of Police of all districts shall take up necessary action to enforce the orders.

The ITLF in a ‘public notice’ gave an ultimatum to cancel the suspension order of the head constable Siamlalpaul and the replacement of Churachandpur district Superintendent of Police Shivanand Surve and the Deputy Commissioner S. Dharun Kumar.

“All state government employees from Churachandpur district should abstain from going to office. If anyone is seen at the office, they would be held accountable if something unfortunate were to happen to them,” it said.

The northeastern state has been devastated for the past over nine months killing over 180 people, injuring over 1300 and displacing over 70,000 people of both communities.