Manipur University crisis: Student bodies plan strike from 26 September; MUSU demands release of jailed students

Amid the crisis following the midnight raids on a hostel at Manipur University's campus and the appointment of Kangujam Yugindro Singh (name also spelled as Jugindro Singh) as pro-vice-chancellor (Pro-VC), several student organisations have planned to hold a general strike from the midnight of 26 September.

The student bodies behind the call for strike are All Manipur Students Union (AMSU), Manipuri Students Federation (MSF), Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur (DESAM), Students Union Kangleipak (SUK), Apunba Ireipak-ki Maheiroi Singpang Lup (AIMS) and Kangleipak Students Association (KSA).

In a statement on Sunday, the Manipur University Students' Union lashed out at Singh, whose complaint led to the arrest of 89 students and six teachers of Manipur University during the raids.

 Manipur University crisis: Student bodies plan strike from 26 September; MUSU demands release of jailed students

Students on hunger strike demand the release of those arrested during midnight raids last week. Image procured by Greeshma Rai

The Manipur University has been gripped by unrest for about four months as students and teachers demanded the removal of AP Pandey from the vice-chancellor's post.

President Ram Nath Kovind, in his capacity as visitor of the university, had placed Pandey under suspension as the inquiry into the allegations of irregularities against him was underway. Soon after, Singh was appointed as the acting VC by the Ministry of Human Resources Department.

In his complaint, Singh had stated he was "gheraoed" by the agitators and was prevented from taking charge.

The MUSU, in its statement said that it was the idea of "arbitrarily-appointed" Pro-VC to meet the agitating students inside "a random room" when the students requested for a meeting. "There was no intention of threatening or attempt to murder in the minds of the students when they requested for the said meeting," the union said.

Denying allegations that the agitators had pelted stones at Singh's car, the MUSU said, "The politically-appointed Pro-VC already clarified in the media that it was eggs and not stones that were thrown by the students at his car. Above all, he was with his armed escort and it would be totally absurd to claim that the students attacked him."

The MUSU criticised the appointment of Singh as new VC without any discussion with the faculty or the student community on campus.

"We consider Kangujam Jugindro as a political figure who is appointed with an agenda by the RSS government of India through HRD ministry. We strongly condemn the charges framed by Kangujam Jugindro and we take into consideration professor Wahenbam Vishwanath to be the VC and Professor Dorendrajit to be the Registrar," MUSU said.

The student union further said that the "dictatorial military action" of the N Biren Singh-led government in Manipur on midnight of 20 September should be condemned as "the darkest episode in the history" of the university.

The students and teachers who were arrested on Friday were later presented before the court of the Imphal West chief judicial magistrate, which remanded six teachers and seven students in judicial custody and two more students in police custody. The remaining students were released.

"We, the student community of MU, demand an unconditional release of arrested professors and students immediately. It is the need of the hour for the people of Manipur to collectively stand united against the (governments at the Centre and in Manipur)," the MUSU said.

With inputs from Greeshma Rai and agencies

Updated Date: Sep 24, 2018 22:37:10 IST