Manipur: University Community cancels suspension of agitation

Imphal (Manipur) , Aug 19 :The Manipur University Community has been “compelled” to cancel its temporary suspension of agitation, after a fresh order by the HRD ministry “failed to uphold the commitment” on which stakeholders had reached a mutual agreement.

Manipur University Teachers’ Association spokesperson N Debananda told reporters yesterday that it has been forced to resume the over 76-day long agitation, as the new order by the ministry does not mention critical points agreed upon.

He said it does away with the “most important point” discussed in the August 16 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) that “during the period of inquiry and until follow-up action on the inquiry report by the competent authority, preferably within of 15 days, (Vice-Chancellor) Prof A P Pandey will be on leave.”

The fresh directive, however, does mention that Pandey will have to appear before the fact-finding committee when necessary.

“We are shocked, disappointed and felt insulted after seeing the HRD Ministry order,” Debananda said, adding, “as the ministry did not abide by the agreement reached upon, the University Community, too, has decided to drop their commitment.”

The students of the university have been demanding the removal of Pandey and constitution of an independent inquiry committee to look into the allegations of administrative and financial lapses made by the VC.
The agitation, that began on May 30, is being spearheaded by the University Community functioning under the aegis of Manipur University Students Union, Manipur University Teachers Association and Manipur University Staffs’ Association.

Debananda said that the agreement reached on Thursday to temporarily suspend the protest from August 17 onwards was in public and student interest to facilitate the pending declaration of examination results.

He expressed resentment that the word “independent” mentioned in the MOA has been “completely skipped” in the new order, and it does not mention that copies of the final report will be made available to the protesting bodies.

According to the HRD Ministry order, former acting Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court T Nandakumar Singh and Prof M K Choudhury, former VC of Tejpur University, will comprise the Committee.

It will have to submit a report within one month beginning August 17, and can visit the varsity offices to inspect documents and record statements.

The impasse, which began from May 30 last, has affected the academic activities in the Central varsity, as well as prevented the declaration of the exam results for final year college students.(PTI)


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