Shiv Sena, Cong blame Prof Pandey; MU shutdown peeves ATSUM


IMPHAL,7th Sep: Even as Manipur University students continue to stage protests in denunciation of alleged arrogance of vice-chancellor Prof AP Pandey, political organisations like Shiv Sena and Congress held Prof Pandey and both Central and state governments responsible for the stalemate in MU. A protest rally of MU students towards Raj Bhavan was stopped by state police and CRPF personnel.

Governor Dr Najma Heptulla has reportedly given her assurance to the students to apprise the Visitor of Manipuri University for his intervention in resolving the crisis. The MU students under the aegis of MUSU marched towards Raj Bhavan on Friday. However, security forces stopped them and allowed a team of 10 students including four women to meet the Governor.

Later, interacting with media persons, MUSU president Mayanglambam Dayaman said that apart conveying about the arrogance of VC AP Pandey, they also lodged complaint to the Governor about the detention of some students by police during a democratic protest on Thursday.

Sharing the emotions of the students over the detention by police, the Governor told them that she could not take up any actions against AP Pandey. However, she gave her assurance to apprise the President of India, who is also the Visitor of the University for intervention in resolving the cris at the varsity, Dayaman said.

Not satisfied with the assurance of the Governor, the students who were stopped by police at Keishampat forced their way through the police barricade and marched again towards the Raj Bhavan. Despite attempt by the police to stop them, the students marched ahead and staged sit-in protest in front of Raj Bhavan gate while shouting slogans like ‘Go back AP Pandey’, ‘We want justice’, etc.

Top officials of district administration and police came there to assess the situation. Later, a prisoner van and two pickup trucks of police came and took away the students from there to the university. The students again tried to come to Raj Bhavan by passenger vehicles. However, Singjamei police took them into custody and released them late evening. On the other-hand, All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) has warned of launching intense forms of agitation if Manipur University is not reopened by Monday and normal classes resumed.

Addressing media persons Friday at its office located at Adimjati complex, Chingmeirong, ATSUM finance secretary SR Andria said that the 85-day closure of MU since May 30 gave severe impact to career of students. Following the signing of MOA between Union HRD Ministry and the striking group, the university was returning to normalcy but closed again from Thursday, he said and condemned the closure of the university.

While expressing fear that career of scores of students would be spoiled by the fresh spell of stir launched even after approval of inquiry against professor AP Pandey, SR Andria said that ATSUM considers the ban imposed by MUSU on MU examinations as a challenge to lives of students and asked if MUSU, MUTA, MUSA and state and central governments could compensate losses suffered by students.

As the group spearheading the ongoing agitation at Manipur University remained silent during ST reservation stir launched in the past, ATSUM would not hesitate to term the group as a communal one but this does not mean that ATSUM is against them or supportive to AP Pandey. The sole demand of the ATSUM is reopening of MU and resumption of normal classes, he said, adding that both state and Central government should not remain silent but bring a permanent solution to resume normalcy in MU.

Tribunal general Joseph Hmar said ATSUM had been demanding resumption of normal classes in MU since the beginning of the stir but the sudden closure of the university once again after brief normalcy was very unfortunate. He also said that ATSUM would be compelled to launch its own form of intense stir if the MU fails to reopen by Monday and resume normal classes.

ATSUM president Vareiso Shatshang also said that non-declaration of results for bachelor of social science has hit hard students and some students who got admitted at other universities to pursue their career have returned owing to their failure to produce documents. He demanded that results of the examination should be declared at the earliest to save students and MU authority should be responsible if these students happen to loss their career.

ATSUM general secretary Seiboi also said that state government needs to investigate against the striking group for spoiling career of students. Expressing serious concern over the series of actions initiated by professor AP Pandey in complete violation of the Memorandum of Agreement signed between the government and MU community, AICC has requested union HRD minister to intervene in the fresh crisis that has erupted in the university due to the arrogance of AP Pandey.

The letter submitted to union HRD minister Prakash Javadekar by AICC secretary and Assam MP Gaurav Gogoi narrated a brief account of the MU row, which led to 86 days of complete shutdown of the university before an agreement was reached between the agitating MU community and union HRD ministry. After reconstitution of an independent committee and leave granted to AP Pandey till the committee submits its report, the MU community suspended its stir bringing normalcy in the university.

However, AP Pandey proclaiming resumption of his office from September 1 and series of orders issued by him including setting up the VC’s office outside the university campus and banning MUTA and MUSA have created fresh row bringing the university at the brink of yet another shutdown, the letter said. Terming the series of actions of AP Pandey as complete violation of the MoA, Gogoi sought attention of the HRD minister to intervene into the situation and resolve the issue at the earliest.

Mention may be made that Gaurav Gogoi during his visit in Imphal on September 2 condemned the resumption of service and banning of MUTA & MUSA by AP Pandey. Denouncing the actions of Pandey as a nature of RSS and attempt to suppress democratic voices and movement of students, Gogoi demanded action from the union government.

Shiv Sena Manipur Unit president M Tombi also stated that it is now time for the BJP-led coalition government in the state to teach VC AP Pandey a lesson, for attempting to humiliate the government by creating trouble when normalcy had just started returning in Manipur University. Addressing a press conference at its Babupara office Friday, Tombi said that actions of VC AP Pandey is similar to showing disrespect towards the state government and has caused instability in law and order of the state. As such, the state government must take up steps to teach the VC a lesson and send him on forced leave for trying to disrupt the academic atmosphere and law and order of the state, he added.

Reiterating the party’s demand for deployment of Highway Protection Force along the National Highways, Tombi said that it is unfortunate for the people of the state that they have to face robberies and assaults along the highways due to the government’s apathy.

Condemning the assault on AMSU volunteers by cadres of NSCN-IM, he questioned why the outfit was allowed to operate in Manipur’s territory, when member of other banned outfits are booked for operating outside of their areas. He then urged the central and the state governments to look into the operation of the said outfit, which is operating freely out of its area.

During the press conference, the appointment of Len Gangte as the party’s state secretary; Thiyam Meghachandra as VP (administration), Yumnam Romola Devi as president of State Women Front and L Sumati Devi as vice president was also announced.

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