Manipur University row: Vice-Chancellor AP Pandey orders ban on two varsity protesting bodies
There was an 85-day-long agitation at Manipur University, during which MUTA and MUSA demanded Vice-Chancellor AP Pandey's removal over administrative and financial irregularities.
Imphal: Days after the agitation at Manipur University was suspended following the intervention of the human resource development (HRD) ministry and the state government, Vice-Chancellor AP Pandey, who is at the centre of the row, issued a statement, banning two protesting bodies at the institute.
The vice-chancellor, who was sent on leave on 2 August, said in the statement on Saturday that he has assumed charge, and that the HRD ministry, Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla and Chief Secretary J Suresh Babu had been intimated about the development.
"The Manipur University Teachers Association (MUTA) and Manipur University Staff Association (MUSA) are hereby being been banned with immediate effect as the Manipur University Act, 2005, does not have provisions for the existence of employees' bodies," Pandey said.
Academic activities resumed in the central university on 24 August, a day after the Manipur University Students' Union, along with MUTA and MUSA, called off their 85-day-long agitation, demanding Pandey's immediate removal over administrative and financial irregularities.
They called off the protest after a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed with representatives of HRD ministry and the state government. The agitators, in a symbolic gesture, had unlocked the doors of the administrative block office and other departments of the university.
In July, the HRD ministry had formed a fact-finding committee, headed by a retired chief justice of Meghalaya, to investigate the allegations against the vice-chancellor.
In his statement, Pandey said it was inevitable to curb the activities of both MUTA and MUSA to bring "order and discipline" to the university. "Disciplinary actions will be initiated against any employee of the university involved in the activities of both the bodies," he added.
Pandey's statement triggered resentment in the university community.
MUTA spokesperson Debananda Singh told media on Sunday that Pandey's resumption of duty will "disturb normalcy on the campus". He sought the intervention of Chief Minister Biren Singh and the HRD ministry in the matter.
In a joint communique, the protesting bodies threatened to resume their agitation if the "competent authorities do not take appropriate action on or before 4 September".
The agitators claimed that the orders issued by Pandey were "null and void" as the investigation into the allegations leveled against him was still pending. They also expressed disappointment over the fact that the HRD ministry-appointed committee had not arrived at the university yet to carry out its investigation.
MUTA president I Tomba said the protesters will not allow Pandey to enter the university campus. "Our demand for Pandey's removal remains steadfast, and any attempt to suppress it will not be tolerated. The Pandey issued is an insult to the university community."
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