After widespread protests broke out against a sudden postponement of students union elections, the Manipur government said Thursday that colleges would be closed for a day.
“In view of reports of students unrest in some colleges received from various sources, I am directed to convey the decision of the government to close all government and government-aided colleges in Manipur for one day (Saturday) to avoid escalation of the situation,” said a notice issued by the deputy secretary (higher and technical education).
As per a notification issued on September 21, the elections were to be held on October 6. On Wednesday, however, the higher education department indefinitely postponed the polls.
Earlier on Thursday, protesters burned benches and desks at Imphal College and blocked Tiddim Road (NH 150) in Imphal West for almost an hour. As police tried to disperse them, the students started pelting stones. Police fired several rounds of tear gas shells and threw mock bombs. Three police personnel and a student sustained minor injuries, while a female student fainted on the spot.
Similar protests were reported also from Imphal East district and near other colleges in West.
A group of college students tried to storm into the Directorate of University and Higher Education.
Superintendent of police Ksh Shivakanta said there was a possibility for violence to mar the elections. In the past few days, instances of nomination forms being snatched and kidnapping of students were reported. So were clashes between students at Keishampat Thouda Babok Leikai in Imphal West, the office of the All Manipur Students Union and Manipur College, Singjamei.
“Students are advised to adhere to the latest government order in connection with the students union election so as to ensure a peaceful academic environment,” he said.