The Manipur government on Thursday suspended two policemen for caning students who clashed with security forces in Imphal, reported The Telegraph. They were protesting during a strike called by the Manipur University Students’ Union demanding the removal of the varsity’s vice chancellor. The strike entered its third day on Friday, reported PTI, and has affected daily life.
Chief Minister N Biren Singh announced that sub-inspector Gunachandra Chanam and constable Sidharth Thokchom of Imphal West police had been suspended for injuring students. Singh further said that Vice Chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey will be removed from the post if an investigation by a fact-finding committee, formed by the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development, finds him guilty, reported The Indian Express.
The state government has also ordered that all telecom services, except voice calls, be suspended, a press release from the state secretariat said. The ban will continue for five days and has been implemented to prevent rumours spreading via social media, WhatsApp, and other platforms.
On Thursday, protestors and police clashed in Imphal, forcing security forces to reportedly shoot blanks in order to control the situation, reported Time8. A few students were reportedly injured when police baton charged them.
The allegations against Vice Chancellor Pandey
The students of the university have accused Pandey of administrative negligence and misusing varsity funds. All academic activity has remained suspended at the central university for the last 50 days as the teachers’ and staff associations too are demanding Pandey’s removal.
The chief minister said the state government empathised with the students and teachers of the university and the issues they had brought up.
The fact-finding committee was constituted on July 12 to look into the matter, but it was re-constituted after a Bharatiya Janata Party delegation, led by the chief minister, met Union minister Prakash Javadekar.
The panel will now be headed by retired Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court T Nandakumar with representatives of the University Grants Commission and the HRD Ministry as its members.
Students, however, have described the re-constitution of the panel as an eyewash and said they will not cooperate with the new committee. The Manipur University Teachers’ Association has said it will not allow any official from the committee to enter the university campus.
Spokesperson of the Manipur University Teachers’ Association N Devanand told PTI that the committee was neither an independent one nor a judicial panel, as demanded by them.
Educational institutions, shops, markets and government offices in Imphal were closed on Thursday and vehicular movement remained suspended due to the strike, PTI quoted the police as saying.