Day 2 of strike called by students' union paralyses life in Manipur (Representative Image)
The 48-hour general strike called by the Manipur University Students' Union, demanding the removal of the university vice-chancellor, entered its second day today, paralysing normal life in the north-eastern state.
Educational institutes, shops, markets and government offices were closed and vehicular movement remained suspended, the police said.
The protesters blocked the roads in various localities, including at Kongpal and Wangkhei in Imphal East district, Wangjing and Thoubal Bazaar in Thoubal district and Thangmeiband in Imphal West district.
They burnt tyres and put up barricades in the middle of the street at some places, the police said.
Heavy security was deployed in the vicinity of the chief minister's bungalow, Raj Bhavan and the surrounding areas of the high-security zone, they added.
The security was beefed up after a large number of protesters tried to forcibly enter the Raj Bhavan, the main office of the BJP in the state and the secretariat on July 16 and 17, the police said, adding that over 10 students and two security personnel were injured in an ensuing scuffle.
Director General of Police (DGP) L M Khaute said the strike was by and large peaceful and all the 17 students, who were arrested on Wednesday, were released last night itself.
The strike has been called by the Manipur University Students' Union and supported by various other student and civil bodies, demanding the removal of Manipur University Vice Chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey and an independent probe against him for his alleged financial irregularities and administrative negligence.
The strike is being supported by the All Manipur Students' Union, the Democratic Students' Alliance of Manipur and the Manipur Students' Federation among others.
All academic activity has remained suspended at the central university for the last 50 days as the teachers' and staff associations are also demanding Pandey's removal.
The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry had formed a fact-finding committee to look into the matter on July 12, but it was re-constituted after a BJP delegation, led by Chief Minister N Biren Singh, met HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar.
The committee will now be headed by retired chief justice of the Meghalaya High Court T Nandakumar with representatives of the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the HRD Ministry as its members.
The students, however, have described the re-constitution of the committee as an "eyewash" and said they will not cooperate with the panel. The Manipur University Teachers' Association has also said it will not allow any official to enter the university campus.
Spokesperson of the Manipur University Teachers' Association N Devanand told PTI that the committee was neither an independent one nor a judicial panel.
He added that they had decided not to extend any assistance to the new committee, which was not even given proper terms and conditions.
"We want a high-power judicial enquiry committee to look into the problem," Devanand said.
Meanwhile, the chief minister met Governor Najma Heptulla at the Raj Bhavan on Wednesday to discuss the Manipur University issue, Raj Bhavan sources said.
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