Atleast eight volunteers of Manipur University (MU) community were hurt when police fired tear gas shell to disperse a group of protestors inside the Varsity campus on Monday.
The varsity community has strongly condemned the police action terming it as an unprovoked attack.
“We condemned the excessive and unprovoked police action including use of tear gas shell, mock bombs on the democratically agitating members of the University community, especially the students”, said a joint statement of the Varsity community.
However, police claimed they resorted to firing tear gas only to diffuse confrontation between two groups.
With the Manipur University impasse entering its 69 days, people in different areas including students on Monday took out rallies on the streets across the state demanding to reopen Manipur University which has been paralysed since May 30.
MUSU general secretary N. Kennedy claimed that the government is using the innocent public to sabotage the movement of the Manipur University community.
The rallies were witnessed in Imphal West, Imphal East, Thoubal, Churachandpur and Ukhrul districts.
As a part of the rally demanding restoration of normalcy in the varsity, hundreds of people bearing banner which reads “Protest rally against the prolonged closure of Manipur University” marched till the varsity gate. In response, volunteers of varsity community also immediately organised a rally, which resulted in an altercation between the two agitating sides.
Police contended that the situation could get out of control had it failed to disperse the agitating groups in time.
S. Tondang, a participant in a rally in Imphal East said, “We have had enough of this unrest prevailing in Manipur University. The University should be reopened immediately to save the life of students. The varsity issue should not be politicised. The varsity teachers who do not want to educate students must be removed.”
Of late, there has been pressure from various quarters for a solution to the varsity impasse.
Following the institution of a Fact Finding Committee to conduct enquiry on the allegations made by the Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU), Professor A P Pandey has been sent on leave for 30 days appointing a senior most professor of the varsity as vice-chancellor in-charge.
Professor A P Pandey, was alleged with administrative and financial irregularities by MUSU, the allegations which is denied by Pandey.
Moreover, a High Power Ministerial Team led by deputy chief minister Y. Joykumar including education minister Th. Radheshyam was also to assist the Fact Finding Committee to enquire and in discharging their duties in a free and fair manner.
The MUSU, Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) and the Manipur University Staffs’ Association (MUSA) had been refusing the step taken up by the HRD ministry saying that their demand was to constitute an ‘independent’ enquiry committee after removal of Prof. Pandey.
On Sunday, the joint bodies resolved to reaffirm the demand for reinstitution of an independent high power committee under the Commission of Enquiry Act 1952. It also resolved to appeal Prof. Vishwanath to assume the charge of vice-chancellor only if he could fulfil the preconditions placed before him by the varsity fraternity and only after the institution of an enquiry committee under the 1952 Act.
The Sunday meeting resolved to reiterate the demand for the ouster of Pandey and resolved to launch an indefinite hunger strike on August 10.