Manipur University Vice-Chancellor Prof A P Pandey, who was asked to go on leave pending an inquiry into allegations of negligence and financial irregularities against him, has “resumed his duties” and “banned” the university’s teacher and staff associations.
Following protests by students and teachers demanding Pandey’s resignation, a memorandum of agreement was signed on August 16 between the protesters, the state government and the HRD Ministry. According to the MoU, Pandey was supposed to be on leave till the inquiry is completed and follow-up action is taken.
The agitation led by Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU) started on May 30 and the Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) and Manipur University Staff Association (MUSA) later joined the protests.
After 85 days of shutdown, Manipur University opened on August 23 after the HRD Ministry accepted the protesters’ demands. According to the agreement, Pandey was to be on leave “during the period of enquiry and until follow-up action taken on the enquiry report by the competent authority”.
Now, in a notification on Saturday, Pandey said he has resumed his duties, and in an order dated September 1, he has said the Manipur University Act, 2005 “does not provide an provision for existence of employees’ bodies” like MUTA and MUSA.
The order claimed that both outfits were “directly involved in subversive activities leading to create turmoil in the university”. The order prohibits the outfits’ activities on the campus and says anyone found involved in their activities would invite disciplinary action
Pandey told The Indian Express, “I was on leave for a month till August 31 and I have joined. I have banned the MUTA and MUSA because they were instigating students to protest and ruin the atmosphere of the university. They were pushing students towards destruction and destroying the future of so many students.”
Students and teachers have termed the order “virtual”.
In an emergency meeting, the MUTA resolved that Pandey will not be “allowed to enter” the campus till the completion of probe and follow-up action. The resolution said Pandey’s “virtual order” be “seen as the prime example of how undemocratic and authoritarian he is”.
In another resolution adopted by a joint meeting of the MUSU, MUTA and MUSA, they said that authorities “should take an appropriate action on or before September 4 2018” on the orders passed by Pandey. They also said any order passed by him “during his period of leave be condemned as null and void and so non-binding”.
MUTA spokesperson Professor N N Singh told The Indian Express, “If by the evening of September 4, there is no response to our demand, we will resume our strike.”