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Featured Image: Ashab Uddin. 

By A Newsman

Silchar, 25 March: BELIEVE it or not, a student body has called a bandh in Manipur against the induction of a democratically elected MLA as parliamentary secretary in the newly-formed BJP government in the state.

This is because the Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur considers Ashab Uddin, the first Bengali to be elected to Manipur Assembly, an “outsider.” Ashab represents the Jiribam Assembly constituency, where Bengalis are the second largest population after the Meiteis.

This is notwithstanding that Ashab’s forefathers have been living in Manipur for over a century now, and he had submitted a family land title dated 1906 along with his Assembly election nomination paper. He has also been a gram panchayat member there for several years.

DESAM says that Ashab’s induction as a parliamentary secretary for minority development and industries departments in Manipur government has hurt the sentiments of the ethnic Meitei community of Manipur.

The bandh will start at 12 tonight and last until 5 pm on Sunday, 26 March. Given Manipur’s culture of calling a shutdown at the drop of a hat, the call is all likely to yield a total response in other parts of Manipur, if not in Jiribam.

Interestingly, DESAM is the organisation which had announced filing a PIL in the Manipur High Court last year against the bandh culture over the Naga community’s prolonged economic blockade against creation of new districts in the state.