Tribal students call hill bandh

Last Updated 22 July 2018, 11:51 IST

Throwing its weight behind the beleaguered vice-chancellor of Manipur University, A P Pandey, a tribal students' body has called for an indefinite hill bandh from Monday, coinciding with the Manipur University Students' Union's (MUSU) decision to disrupt the Assembly session for not discussing the impasse at the institute.

Ever since he assumed charge, Pandey worked with efficiency and maintained transparency, the Joint Bodies of Tribal Students, Manipur said in a statement on Saturday.

The body, a conglomerate of tribal students' unions, said Pandey's removal must be based on the findings of the probe by the committee appointed by the government, adding, "We are also against the prolonged closure of the university."

The university remained closed for the 52nd day on Sunday.

The decision of the tribal students' association followed the MUSU resolution on Friday to disrupt the last day of the ongoing Assembly session tomorrow as the House had not taken up the crisis in the university as well as the ruling BJP's "failure" to take a stand on the issue in its agenda.

As a precautionary measure, a large number of security personnel has been deployed in the high-security zones here in the state capital, including in front of the main BJP office, Raj Bhavan, Secretariat and Assembly complex, the police said.

Iron barricades with barbed wires were also kept ready, they added.

Chief Minister N Biren Singh, after consulting with Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar on July 17, has re-constituted a fact-finding committee comprising a retired chief justice of the Meghalaya High Court and representatives of the UGC and the HRD ministry to probe the allegations of financial irregularities and administrative negligence against Pandey.

The students' union, teachers' association and staff association of the central university have rejected the move and demanded an independent inquiry into the matter.

Earlier, the students' union, supported by various civil bodies, had called a two-day general strike from July 17. The strike was by and large peaceful till the second evening, when clashes broke out between the bandh supporters and security personnel.

In view of the situation, the state government has suspended mobile internet and SMS services to curb rumour-mongering for five days, starting July 19.

(Published 22 July 2018, 11:28 IST)

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