Police fire tear gas, mock bombs; Students, faculty arrested
A huge number of state forces entered the Manipur University campus on the night of September 20 and allegedly terrorised students especially the students in boys’ hostels. As per students’ testimonies, they started arresting students en-masse without giving them any reasons for such an arrest. Reportedly, the police told the students that they were under no obligations to provide any reasons for the arrest. When the students resisted their attempts, the police unleashed brutal force, kicking doors and firing tear gas inside the hostels directly.
More than 90 students were taken under police custody with around 6 faculty members including the current VC in charge Prof. Bishwanath. Police also fired few rounds of tear gas shell and used mock bomb to overcome the confrontation and to make the arrest. At least 11 students got injured during the ensuing clashes.
The students claim that the government is trying to protect the VC AP Pandey, who was suspended after an 85 day long protest by MU students on grounds of financial unaccountability and misconduct in many cases. A two member enquiry committee was set up. The committee wanted to inspect the files in Academic block so that the charges against him could be investigated. The students claim that these files could serve as “hangman’s noose”.
A student said, “Last night, police assaulted many students and even fired tear gas shell inside the hostel room,” he added, “Such violent act of police inside the hostels of a university is intolerable and inhuman. We condemned the incident most vehemently.”
In a video released from an undisclosed location, out of fear for his safety, Laishram Kendy, the current general secretary of the MU Students’ Union (MUSU) shared, “It is not going to be a groundless claim that state government is protecting AP Pandey, and by arresting the agitating students and teachers they are is trying to manipulate the files inside the academic block which will serve as Pandey’s hangman’s noose and make the enquiry committee in favour of Pandey. A situation has come where saving the university depends on the CSOs, women organisations, students organisations and the masses. Such atrocities to the university community must be condemned by the people and I also appeal the people to condemn such acts.”
Earlier there had been conflict over the appointment of a Pro VC Prof. M. Shyamkesho. Students allege that the previous VC AP Pandey didn’t have the legal mandate to appoint the PVC as he was officially on leave and as such an appointment requires the approval of The Executive Council. This was done despite the knowledge about an independent enquiry committee and despite the fact that the nodal officer of the enquiry committee is the Registrar in Charge, Prof. Sh. Dorendrojit Singh. When the irked students tried to register a protest, the Pro VC, instead lodged an FIR after which the police assaults started on students.
Internet services have been snapped on the campus and students are desperately seeking help against the brutal crackdown of Manipur police with tacit support and approval of Home Ministry.
The Manipur Pradesh Congress Committee (MPCC) termed the state actions as ‘dictatorial’ and demanded immediate release of students.
As per reports, five professors and ten students of the 95 arrested were presented before the chief judicial magistrate in Imphal West.
Manipur Police unleashes brutal force on MU students demanding removal of VC