GUWAHATI: The attempt of the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) to resolve the ongoing crisis in Manipur University by reconstituting a fact-finding committee came a cropper as the varsity fraternity stuck to its guns, demanding the removal of vice-chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey.
The MHRD on Wednesday constituted the second fact-finding panel headed by retired Meghalaya High Court judge Nand Kumar and UGC joint secretary JK Tripathi and Surat Singh from MHRD as members. However, the students and the faculty rejected it outright.
“…The structure of the reconstituted fact-finding committee is an absolute insult to the intelligence of people of Manipur in general and the university community in particular. While the appointment of a retired Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court as chairman of the committee is laudable, the members felt dismayed by the amorphous nature of the reconstituted fact-finding committee as it is neither independent nor judicial. In this context, the members re-emphasised the non-negotiable demand for immediate removal of the present VC, Prof AP Pandey, to be coupled by investigation by an independent high power committee to establish accountability for the financial and administrative misdeeds committed during his tenure,” associations of the students and the teachers said in a statement following a meeting.
They reiterated that the removal of Pandey was a “sine quo non to precede” any intervention to resolve the present crisis. They also resolved that no co-operation would be extended to the fact-finding committee as it was neither independent nor judicial.
Initially, the MHRD had constituted a two-member committee with JK Tripathi and Surat Singh. However, the varsity community rejected it on the ground that they had worked with Pandey earlier.
Pandey had taken over as VC of Manipur University in October 2016. The students and the teachers are miffed with his frequenting places outside Manipur among others. There are a series of charges against him which include financial misappropriation. He is also accused of not filling up many key positions, including that of a regular registrar, examination controller, librarian and curator.
Earlier, deans of all six schools in the university and 32 heads of departments and centres had resigned in a show of solidarity with the protesting students. Despite the protests, Pandey said he would not resign. He insisted that he was only following the rules in running the institute.
Meanwhile, normal life in Imphal Valley remained affected for the second day on Thursday during a 48-hour strike which was called by the university students since the midnight of July 17. The protests spilled over to the streets of Imphal Valley on Thursday as the protestors prevented the movement of vehicles except those on emergency service.