GUWAHATI: After a brief lull, chaos and restlessness have returned to central institute Manipur University.
In a midnight raid carried out on the varsity campus, over 90 students and six faculty members were detained by the police.
According to reports, heavily-armed policemen stormed the boys’ hostels at 1 am on Friday in search of some students who had earlier in the day allegedly locked up Vice Chancellor (in-charge) K Yugindro Singh and Registrar (in-charge) Shyam Kesho in a room when they had gone to the varsity to assume charge. The duo was appointed in the posts by suspended VC Adya Prasad Pandey when he was sent on leave by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) after a committee was constituted to probe various allegations against him.
During the raid, the students bombarded the cops with a series of questions leading to a heated exchange of words. Later, the police fired tear gas shells to restore normalcy. Several students were reportedly injured in the police action.
The police said they had conducted the raid based on a complaint by Singh and Kesho who alleged that they were prevented from taking charge.
Pandey alleged that the acting VC and the acting Registrar were “tortured” and “manhandled” by the leaders of agitating Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU) and Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) in a room and forced to tender an apology that they made a mistake by coming to assume charge and vitiating the peaceful atmosphere on the campus.
“After the assault, they had called up the police but no help was provided. So, they went to Chief Minister N Biren Singh. They also informed the MHRD and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). The MHA then issued strict orders to the Manipur government saying if it is not going to help then the ministry will send Central forces,” Pandey told TNIE.
He said the protestors wanted their people as VC and Registrar and hence, prevented Singh and Kesho from assuming charge. He said charges to the duo were handed over by the MHRD.
According to reports, a number of students fled the hostels after the midnight raid. Fearing trouble and to avert untoward incidents, the state government has suspended internet services in several areas of state capital Imphal.
Meanwhile, former Congress Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh demanded the immediate release of the students and the teachers. He advocated a proper channel dialogue among the state government, university authorities and agitators.
The protests on the campus first broke out in the first week of June when the students had gone on the warpath against then VC Pandey demanding his ouster. They leveled a series of allegations, including siphoning off funds, against him. Currently, a two-member “independent” panel is probing the charges.