The Kuki Students’ Organisation has called for a 24-hour strike across Manipur from Thursday midnight, demanding the release of its executives arrested in connection with an arson attack on a Catholic school in April, The Indian Express reported.

The chief judicial magistrate in Chandel had remanded 10 executives of the Kuki Students’ Organisation to judicial custody on May 27 in connection with the arson at St Joseph’s Higher Secondary School on April 25, which destroyed school property worth over Rs 35 lakh, according to Imphal Free Press.

The police had initially arrested three executives of Gunpi block and later on May 16, seven executives surrendered before the superintendent of police, Kakching district.

David L Gangte, secretary of information of Kuki Students’ Organisation, condemned the continued detention of the the executives. “Of the 10 executives, three were arrested by the police and seven surrendered themselves to the SP, Kakching district as they reposed their trust in the law and the investigating authority,” The Indian Express quoted David as saying. “For 10 days, they underwent thorough interrogation and investigation in the police custody but no substantial evidence was found against them in the case of an act of arson.”

David said vice president of the student organisation’s Gunpi block, Thangzatet Haokip, who suffered from an acute case of jaundice was also sent to jail. David said the Kuki Students’ Organisation was being made a “scapegoat in the arson attack” and being vilified.

“It is a fact that the miscreants, who had torched the school, apparently have taken advantage of the closure of the school and clandestinely burnt down the school knowing well that the KSO Gunpi Block executives were there to take the blame,” David added, according to Imphal Free Press.