The Ministry of Human Resource Development has suspended Manipur University Vice-Chancellor Adya Prasad Pandey until an inquiry against him is completed, The Indian Express reported on Tuesday.
“The President of India in his capacity as Visitor of the Manipur University, on consideration of material on record and taking into account volatile law and order situation in the Campus of the University and in exercise of powers conferred on him...is pleased to place Pandey under suspension with immediate effect and till completion of the inquiry and action to be taken thereon in the interest of justice for free and fair inquiry or till further orders,” Deputy Secretary Surat Singh said in a notice issued on Monday.
The Centre took the decision after the state government informed it that the agitation against Pandey has led to serious law and order problems and administrative crises, The New Indian Express reported. The ministry order said the university was in a state of turmoil.
The students, teachers and staff of Manipur University thanked the ministry, and demanded that Pandey vacate his official quarters at Sanjenthong in Imphal. “We hope we will continue to get the support until Pandey is terminated from his posts,” Manipur University Teachers’ Association executive member M Sanatomba told The Telegraph.
Pandey, who was sent on a month-long leave on August 2 after a section of students and teachers began protesting against him in May, resumed duty earlier this month and promptly banned two protesting employees’ outfits at the institution.
The university was closed between May 31 and August 23, while the students’ union agitated with a single-point demand for Pandey’s removal for alleged administrative ineptitude. The protestors called off their 85-day-long agitation after the authorities promised an independent inquiry committee would look into their allegations. 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.
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.
On September 4, Pandey moved the High Court challenging the Ministry of Human Resource Development’s decision to form a two-member committee to investigate allegations of irregularities against him. The vice chancellor has appealed that the inquiry panel be disbanded.