Amidst the ongoing protest by Manipur University students demanding the removal of Vice-Chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey, a two-member inquiry committee constituted by the HRD ministry on Thursday began probe into allegations levelled against the professor.
As many as 22 student protestors including three leaders of Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU) were arrested by police today while trying to storm the quarter of Prof. AP Pandey and registrar in-charge M Shyamkesho Singh. The MUSU volunteers were opposing the joining of Prof. Pandey who resumed his duty from September 1 despite a pending inquiry against him.
Despite his leave extended by the MU authority, Pandey refused to accept it on the basis that it was issued by someone below his rank. Laishram Kenedy, secretary general MUSU said the 85 day-long agitation was temporarily suspended on August 22 after a memorandum of agreement (MOA) was signed between the MU community and the HRD Ministry in the presence of state government on August 16.
Criticising the joining of the V-C, he said Prof. Pandey has violated the MoA compelling the students to resume their protest demanding his removal. Following the resumption of the agitation, the semester examination, which was to be initiated today has been suspended.
“How can students appear in their semester examination when the issue is not resolved? The HRD Ministry and President of India must take legitimate action against Pandey immediately,” said Kenedy.
Volunteers of MUSU led by its secretary general, Laishram Kenedy tried to storm the quarters of AP Pandey and Shymakesho today. However, they were stopped by the police, who later arrested 22 people after a brief confrontation. The student protesters were later released late in the evening.
The inquiry committee has also appointed L Birendrakumar Sharma, a retired judicial officer. A notice was issued to varsity community MUSU, Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) and Manipur University Staff Association (MUSA) for submitting their statements by September 16. The next sitting of the inquiry committee will be held on Friday.
The committee headed by a former acting Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court, T Nandakumar (chairman) and MK Choudhary, former vice-chancellor of Tezpur University (member), was constituted after the MoA was signed. While the committee will submit their report within one month, Pandey will be on leave during the period and until the follow-up action.