At least 80 students and 6 professors of Manipur University were arrested by the Police early on Friday after a complaint was filed by the Vice Chancellor’s Office of the University alleging that the VC in-charge, K. Yugindro Singh, was prevented from taking charge. The Police were forced to fire tear gas shells to disperse the crowd when massive protests erupted in the campus.
Manipur University has been gripped by unrest over the past few months with students and teachers demanding the removal of Vice Chancellor, A.P. Pandey, over financial and administrative irregularities. At one point of time, the University was shut down for 3 months. Normalcy returned after a fact-finding committee was set up to look into the allegations against Pandey who was suspended on the 17th of September.
IGP L Kailun said that Singh had stated in his complaint that the students and teachers had ‘gheraoed’ him for trying to assume the position of acting Vice-Chancellor. “The students, who had exams scheduled for the day, gheraoed the professor and forced him to write a written apology over his appointment as the acting VC,” he said, quoting Singh’s complaint.
Former chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh of the Congress party reportedly condemned the arrest of the students and professors. He said, “We strongly condemn the raid inside the campus. This dictatorship cannot be tolerated by the Congress in this democratic country.”
Former deputy chief minister Gaikhangam said, “The action of security forces on the university campus is a challenge to democracy, which is more serious than a declaration of emergency in the state. This reign of terror should be stopped. No force can stand against the people’s voice.”
Some students are reported to have been injured during the confrontation with the Police. Internet services have been suspended in Manipur for five days in light of the law and order situation to prevent the spreading of rumours.