At least seven students were injured when police carried out a lathicharge against agitators who tried to storm the Raj Bhawan and BJP Manipur Pradesh office on Monday. The agitation was spearheaded by Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM), demanding an end to the Manipur University impasse.
Meanwhile, Manipur University Student’s Union (MUSU), which has been spearheading the protest demanding the removal of Manipur University vice-chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey, has called for a 48-hour strike across the state from July 17 to July 19. Pandey is facing allegations ranging from administrative negligence to misuse of varsity funds. He has claimed that the accusations were motivated and has refused to step down from his post.
“Despite our democratic protest, the authorities concerned remain indifferent to our demand. Our primary demand is that the vice-chancellor be removed followed by a high-level independent inquiry committee. As our demand is ignored, we are left with no choice but to step up our protest,” said Mayanglambam Dayaman, MUSU president.
Earlier, a group of students stormed the Manipur governor’s residence, shouting slogans, “Remove irresponsible VC Pandey”, “Solve Manipur University crisis”. The incident resulted in a confrontation between the agitators and police in front of the gate. As police pushed back the agitating students, they tried to storm the BJP Manipur office.
The protesters brought down a gate with lifesize posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah. In an attempt to disperse the protesters, police resorted to indiscriminate lathi-charge, injuring at least seven, including the general secretary of DESAM.
Moreover, the student leader suffered a fractured bone when a truck ran over his hand as he was pushed down towards the highway by the police. Two girl students also fainted in the commotion. All the seven students were rushed to Raj Medicity.
Condemning the police action, the DESAM has demanded immediate suspension of personnel involved in the lathicharge against the students by July 18. The outfit threatened to launch intense agitations from Thursday if the administration failed to act upon the police officers.