All five leaders of All Tribal Students Union Manipur (ATSUM) who are in judicial custody have been released following an agreement signed between the government and three tribal student bodies, officials said on Tuesday. Mobile internet services were restored in the state with immediate effect on Tuesday after being suspended since Saturday late evening by the government citing ”tense communal situation and volatile law and order situation,” they said.
The ATSUM leaders were released late on Monday night from Sajiwa jail following an order passed by the chief judicial magistrate of Imphal West, the officials said.
They were arrested a week ago on charges of conspiring to impose economic blockade in the state. On Monday evening representatives of ATSUM, All Naga Student Association and Kuki Students Organization signed a three-point agreement with the government.
The state Tribal Affairs and Hills Minister Letpao Haokip and Chairman of Hills Area Committee, D Gangmei signed the agreement on behalf of the government. According to the agreement the five arrested ATSUM leaders will be released without any charges after the lifting of the economic blockade and that the arrest warrant and FIR against them will be nullified.
There was confusion as some student leaders said that the blockade is off, while those based in Senapati district said it is still on. A counter blockade began in Bishnupur district of the state from Monday morning. Restoring the mobile internet services, an order issued by the special secretary (home), H Gyan Prakash said the decision was taken following a letter from the director general of police which said the suspension of the internet and mobile data services may be relaxed ”in view of the positive development”.
Mobile internet services were suspended for five days after unidentified miscreants set ablaze a vehicle at Phoubakchao Ikhang in Bishnupur district. The incident was quickly followed by another incident in which a car was set ablaze at Torbung Bangla in Bishnupur district. The government had then said that some anti-social elements are using the social media extensively for transmission of images, hate speeches and hate video messages inciting the passions of the public.
The social media has become a tool for rumour mongers, it had added.