Manipur Police unleashes brutal force on MU students demanding removal of VC

Written by Sushmita | Published on: July 19, 2018
A shocking video of police brutality on Manipur University students has emerged on July 18. Manipur Police can be seen mercilessly beating up students. In the process, one student falls in front of a running vehicle and gets critically injured. The police not only witness this, they keep on beating the students. The students frantically stop another vehicle passing by and load the injured student on it.



Video (Sent on Whatsapp)

This is not a random video. The video is testimony to more than 50 days old protests and discontent building up in Manipur University.

A pamphlet issued by Manipur Students’ Association Delhi (MSAD) informed that a military battalion was stationed inside the campus which the students claim is “one of its kind in the whole world.” The reaction from the Centre has been to call in more armed forces within the campus. This is reminiscent of Sardar Patel’s statement made in 1949 in which he asked, “Isn’t there a brigadier in Shillong?”

The Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU) gave a call for a general strike on July 17 and on the first day of the strike, ‘normal life’ seemed to have been “paralysed

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At the heart of the strike and protests is the demand for the removal of Manipur University’s Vice Chancellor, Adya Prasad Pandey from his current position. Students launched the protests to oust the VC from May 30, alleging “administrative failure” as the main reason for such a demand.

Students allege that the VC has not stepped inside the University campus since the time protests started. Instead, it appears he is busy hobnobbing with the Centre and made a trip to Delhi even amid an atmosphere of huge crisis. Simultaneously, in a booklet released by the MUSU, it has been alleged that the VC has a “bizarre habit of remaining away from the campus for very long periods” and most of these tours are “unofficial.” He has also been accused of violating the Manipur University (MU) Act, 2005 and failed to adhere to procedures related to financial assessments and planning. No convocation was held in the university since April 2014. Another serious issue flagged in the booklet is that a “large amount of unaccounted money is being donated to several politically motivated organisation with the ulterior motive” leading to “misuse.” The booklet also sheds light on the “notorious manner” in which the money from the university is being transferred to one Lucknow based firm. The VC has also been accused of failure to start much awaited courses such as LLM, MA fine Arts, M.Ed. Apart from that, there has been an apparent delay and disruption of academic calendar. And students also allege “psychological” harassment in the name of frequent frisking by guards.

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Responding to the call for strike, all government and private institutions remained shut and all forms of transportation stayed off the road except for some private vehicles seen plying on the roads.
The MSAD also gave a call for protest in New Delhi, with key demands such as:
1) The ruining of Manipur University affecting the entire student community by the presence of VC, A.P Pandey.
2) Arbitrary eviction by the BJP government.
3) The border conflict between Manipur and Myanmar.

It is noteworthy that as many as 60-70 Undergraduate colleges fall in the ambit of the Manipur University. Students allege that the current crisis has impacted all of their functioning. Students also seem to believe that this is a systematic disruption of the University space in Manipur.

A joint statement released by the community of protesters said a joint meeting of the executive members of Manipur Teachers’ Association (MUTA), Manipur University Students’ Union and Manipur University Staffs’ Association was held on July 18 at MUTA office. And the bodies there resolved to reiterate that the removal of VC Pandey was non-negotiable before one could proceed towards any intervention to resolve the present crisis in the varsity.

The meeting also took serious note of the brutal force used against the students who were “democratically agitating” and strongly condemned the actions of the state police stating the “manner will even put the animal kingdom to shame.”

Also, another important and controversial issue is that of the “arbitrary eviction” at Khetri Bengoon, Imphal East, which, as per the MSAD statement, poses an existential threat to “the territoriality of Manipur” and “it seems that the policy is an appeasement foxship from the part of Delhi to Myanmar, considering the China factor” The alleged eviction drive wiped out an entire village without any rehabilitation plan, violating an MoU signed between CSOs and government.

There is a strong sentiment that interests and sentiments of Manipuri people are not reflected in the decisions that are being made at the Centre.