St Joseph’s Higher Secondary School, the second oldest Catholic institution in Manipur, was allegedly burnt down by angry students. The incident took place on April 25 after the school authorities suspended six students for indiscipline. According to latest media reports, two people have been arrested in connection with the incident. Rev Fr Dominic, the Principal of the school said that, “10 rooms have been destroyed, 2 of them had documents, files and equipment.” Talking about the entire suspension episode, the Principal said that, “We've been discussing that the reason could be negotiation with local student organisation. They didn't like the correctional measure we had taken. They wanted the punishment quashed.”
Manipur minister Letpao Haokip slammed the act and said that, “This is an act of extremists, A students organisation is burning down a school! I condemn the act. Whoever is involved in this act will be booked and punished. I'll help in the reconstruction of school so that students don't lose an academic year.”
Some 1,400 students study in the school. According to The Hindu, father of one the suspended students is a leader of a local extremist organisation. He apparently mobilised the extremists to burn down the 55-year-old school. “The school refused to give in. This led to the miscreants burning down the 55-year-old school, along with all its records,” Fr Chapao said.
According to ‘The Sangai Express’, the All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM) and the All Tribal Students’ Union, Manipur (ATSUM) have also strongly condemned the burning down of the school. In a statement, the ANSAM said that it is shocked and strongly condemned such cowardly action. “Such action would not only deprive the students from progressing in their academic endeavour but also also create a long term fear psychosis,” the Naga student body said.
In a separate statement, the All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) said it is “deeply perturbed with the inhuman act” of torching down of the School by a “bunch of miscreants. This act of arson perpetrated on educational institution is a desperate attack on humanity,” the apex tribal student body of Manipur stated.