Manipur University Vice Chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey, who was sent on a month-long leave on August 2 after a section of students and teachers began protesting against him, resumed duty on Saturday and promptly banned two protesting employees’ outfits at the institute, reported PTI.
Pandey said he has intimated the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla and Chief Secretary J Suresh Babu about the developments.
“The Manipur University Teachers Association and [the] Manipur University Staff Association are hereby being been banned with immediate effect as the Manipur University Act, 2005, does not have provisions for existence of employees’ bodies,” the vice chancellor said in a statement.
The order, according to The Indian Express, claimed that the two outfits were “directly involved in subversive activities leading to turmoil in the university”. In his statement, the Prasad said the activities of both the associations needed to be curbed to maintain “order and discipline” in the university. “Disciplinary actions will be initiated against any employee of the university involved in the activities of both the bodies,” he added.
The university had been closed from May 31, when the students’ union began an agitation with a single-point demand for Pandey’s removal for alleged administrative ineptitude, till August 23. The protestors called off their 85-day-long agitation after the authorities promised an independent inquiry committee would look into their allegations.
On August 16, a memorandum of agreement was signed between the students’ union, the teachers’ association, the staff association and representatives of the Ministry of Human Resource Development and the state government. According to the agreement, Pandey was supposed to be on leave till the inquiry against him is completed.
Therefore, Pandey’s orders are “null and void” as the inquiry against him is still pending, the protestors claimed. They also threatened to resume their agitation if “competent authorities do not take appropriate action on or before September 4”, reported News18.
The protestors said any attempt to reinstate Pandey would not be accepted. Manipur University Teachers Association spokesperson Debananda Singh said the vice chancellor’s decision to resume duty would “disturb normalcy on the campus”. He sought the intervention of Chief Minister N Biren Singh and the HRD ministry. The outfit’s president, I Tomba, said: “Our demand for removal of Pandey remains steadfast and any attempt to suppress it will not be tolerated. The order issued by Pandey is an insult to the university community.”
Allegations against Pandey
The protestors have accused Pandey of incompetence and conducting several “non-academic activities” out of his office after taking charge in October 2016. He has also failed to fill key positions such as that of the university’s chancellor and registrar.
The protestors have also alleged that Pandey goes on leave for long periods without mentioning his date of return, and an “extraordinary” amount of money is used for these trips, according to the Imphal Free Press. Some protestors also accused the vice chancellor of attempting to “saffronise the university” by promoting some groups that have connections with right-wing organisations.