Manipur University impasse: Heavy security deployed in Imphal

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Imphal:

Security personnel in riot gear were deployed on Tuesday across the “high-security zone” in Imphal, a day after the protesting members of a Manipur University students’ union tried to storm the Raj Bhavan and the BJP main office at Nityaipat Chuthek area here, officials said.

The academic activities at the central university have been under suspension for the past 47 days as teachers, students and staff associations are agitating here for the removal of Vice Chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey over alleged financial irregularities and administrative negligence.

At least seven agitators, most of them affiliated to the Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur (DESAM), were reportedly injured in yesterday’s commotion.

At the Governor’s House, guarded by CRPF personnel, iron barricades wrapped with barbed wires have been set up at the entrance gate, police sources said.

Dozens of state police commandos have been posted around the Raj Bhavan, they said.

A senior police officer said security officers have also been deployed at the Sanjenthong, Keisampat, Singjamei areas, following reports that the agitators will take out a rally and form a human chain to protest against yesterday’s crackdown on volunteers of DESAM.

The rally, however, was called off, he said.

DESAM president S Akash, who was allowed to meet Governor Najma Heptulla on Tuesday , told reporters that he wanted to apprise the Centre of the situation at the university.

“We urged the governor to request the Centre to resolve the university crisis, failing which the agitation will be intensified,” he said.

Six deans and 29 heads of departments have resigned in the past 47 days, in protest against the VC’s style of functioning, said professor Ranjit Singh of the Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA).

The Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU), which had been spearheading the protest along with MUTA and a staff association, asserted that their “democratic agitations have been ignored” so far.

“Our first demand is the removal of VC Pandey and the second is the formation of an independent committee, headed by a retired high court judge, to probe into the allegations against him,” MUSU president M Dayamand Singh said.

The Centre, on July 12, formed a fact-finding committee, comprising a representative of the University Grants Commission and the HRD ministry, to investigate into the allegations against Pandey, but the agitators refused to cooperate with the panel and called the move “ploy to undermine their democratic movement”.

The protesters said they would not budge from their demand for an independent probe into the complaints.

Yesterday, a 30-member BJP delegation, led by Chief Minister Biren Singh, had urged the Union HRD Ministry to review the composition of the fact-finding committee.

The delegation, during the meeting in Delhi, stressed the need for appointing a retired judge of a high court to head the probe committee, a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office said.

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