Protests galore as organisations state stand on MU issue

IMPHAL,9th Aug: Demanding removal of Manipur University vice chancellor AP Pandey and restoration of normal academic atmosphere in the varsity, protest demonstrations were staged in different parts of the state as well as in Chandigarh. Students of LMS Law College, Imphal staged sit-in-protest in front of the college premises on Thursday in solidarity with MU community.

LMS Law College Students’ Union president M Monalisa told media persons at the protest venue that a high power independent committee constituted under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 must be formed to probe allegations levelled against professor AP Pandey. Questioning the nature of leave granted to professor Pandey by MU registrar in-charge on August 2, Monalisa also demanded clarification in this regard from authority concerned.

While stating that it was very unfortunate that both the Central and state governments are doing nothing to ensure resumption of normal academic atmosphere in MU, the student leader said this has exposed government’s true intention and disregard for students. She also declared that the union will extend whatever support needed to MU community in purduance of the demand for removal of Prof Pandey.

On the other hand, Joint Students’ Forum staged protest in front of DM College gate. The protest was participated by students of DM colleges of Science, Arts and Commerce.Forum president Arambam Bikash said that the ongoing agitation demanding removal of the incompetent VC has severely affected student community and students of 6th semester who are to puruse PG are on verge of loosing one academic year. Amidst this situation, government has been trying to divert the issue by organising rallies, he claimed and strongly condemned government’s attempt to divide the student community.

While urging government to take steps for ensuring resumption of normal academic atmosphere in MU by removing AP Pandey and declare results of 6th semester exam at the earliest, Bikash warned of launching intense forms of agitation if the government fails to take steps to declare results of the exam within second week of August. In solidarity with the striking MU students, teachers and staff, members of North-East Forum for International Solidarity (NEFIS), Chandigarh unit along with the students of North-East staged a protest demonstration at Panjab University, Chandigarh.

During the protest, the students condemned the government’s role in allying with professor AP Pandey against whom an inquiry is underway and procrastinating in sending him on leave during the inquiry. They also condemned the government’s ploy to divide the striking MU community so as to reinstate the VC. The NEFIS also launched mass signature campaign on MU issue and BJP government’s policy to dismantle public-funded higher educational institutions at Chandigarh University. Members of the unit resolved to initiate a mass movement at Panjab University against anti-people and anti-student policies of the BJP government in the coming days.

As announced earlier, All India Students’ Federation (AISF), Manipur State Council organised protests demanding removal of Prof AP Pandey at different parts of the state on Thursday. Responding to the call of AISF, students of Paree Imom Sindam Shang, Langjing; Temple of Learning, Canchipur; Bengoon Higher Secondary School and MR Bengoon Public School, Mayang Imphal formed human chains along the roadsides demanding removal of AP Pandey, informed AISF state secretary Kh Rameshwor Singh in a statement.

Meanwhile, Information Centre for Hill Areas Manipur (ICHAM) president Yuimi Horam has categorically stated that Manipur University VC Professor AP Pandey cannot be allowed to return to the University after his leave ends. Speaking to media persons at ICHAM’s office here Thursday, Yuimi maintained that the ongoing protest at MU has completed 70 days but the VC continues to hold his post till date.

ICHAM supports the joint protest of MUSU, MUTA and MUSA and agrees that the incompetent VC should be removed. Currently, Pandey is on leave for 30 days. However, he should not be permitted to return to the University as its VC after the end of his leave period. If he is allowed to return, then ICHAM along with MUSU, MUTA and MUSA will launch various intense agitations, he cautioned.

Nonetheless, the 70-day long protest has greatly affected the student community, putting their future at risk. Thus, Yuimi appealed to all concerned to withdraw the ongoing protest in the interest of the students.

Meanwhile, questioning the intention of VC Pandey, MUSU, MUTA and MUSA in stretching the crisis for more than two-month, People Action for National Development and Peace (PANDEP) declared that it might reopen Manipur University forcibly by joining hands with the public and students of the state if the varsity stalemate is not resolved at the earliest.

Issuing a statement in this regard, PANDEP said that even if members of MUSA, MUTA and VC himself go on strike for a year's time they would get their respective salaries on time. However, who would take responsibility for the losses suffered by students and their parents, the statement asked. As such, there is no reason for not taking action against those liable for destroying the career of students, PANDEP said, while warning of approaching HRD Ministry for giving forced retirement to all those teachers on the ground of destroying the career of students. The prevailing crisis in MU might have the potential to divide the hill and valley people, PANDEP expressed.

As per the demands of the protesters, the government had set up a panel to investigate the matter and sent VC Pandey on one month’s leave as well as appointed a VC in-charge, but still the protesters are sticking to their stand. Such adamant nature is same as embarrassing the state government, it said. If the protesters really want enquiry then PANDEP would approach the HRD Ministry to conduct special judicial enquiry from the time of former VC Ng Bijoy, PANDEP said.

As a result of the MU impasse, the state which has been free from bandh and strike for the last 15-16 months, is facing series of bandhs, it added. It further urged all concerned to use another mode of agitation instead of calling bandh and strike, which affect the poor common people.

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