Student organisations and opposition parties have condemned the crackdown on students and teachers of the Manipur University following a row over its newly-appointed pro-Vice Chancellor K Yungindro Singh.
More than 90 students and six teachers were arrested from the university hostel and residential quarters in Imphal early on Friday, 21 September, following an agitation the day before.
The sections under which the protesters were charged included those dealing with wrongful confinement, attempt to murder and intimidation, The Indian Express reported.
According to police, the agitators were presented before the court of the Imphal West chief judicial magistrate later on Friday. The court remanded the six teachers and seven of the students to judicial custody for 15 days. Two other students were sent to police custody for five days. The rest were released with warnings, police added.
Mobile internet services were suspended in the state for the next five days to avoid circulation of “misinformation and rumours” over the incident, a top officer told PTI.
A team of officers raided the university hostel and the residential quarters at around 1 am and took the students and teachers into custody based on a complaint filed by K Yugindro Singh, IGP L Kailun said at a press meet in Imphal.
Singh, in his complaint, stated that he was gheraoed by the agitators for trying to assume charges at the central university, where a prolonged battle between former Vice Chancellor AP Pandey and the students and teachers have hampered academic activities for over four months, the IG said.
The confrontation between the protesters and police also left at least 10 students injured, with tear gas shells and mock bombs being hurled by the personnel, The Indian Express reported.
Responding to the developments, the Joint Students' Coordinating Committee (JSCC), which includes four student bodies – All Manipur Students' Union (AMSU), Manipur Students' Federation (MSF), Kangleipak Students' Association (KSA) and Students' Union of Kangleipak – called for a shutdown of the university till normalcy was restored, The Indian Express further reported.
Along with the JSCC, professors at the university and opposition parties have condemned the raids and called for the release of the teachers and students. Meanwhile, various university students have decided to boycott the semester examinations.
‘Students Gheraoed the VC, Made Him Apologise for Taking up the Post’
President Ram Nath Kovind, in his capacity as Visitor of the Manipur University, recently suspended Pandey, as the inquiry into the allegations of irregularities against him was underway.
Soon after, Singh was appointed as the pro VC by the Ministry of Human Resources Department.
“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,” Kailun said, quoting Singh's complaint.
IGP Clay Khongsai, who was also part of the press meet, said the agitators pelted stones at the police officers during the midnight raid on Friday.
Why is Tension Brewing in Manipur University?
The Manipur University has been on the boil for the last several months. Protests demanding the removal of former VC AP Pandey raged on in the university for 85 days, from 31 May to 23 August, until an agreement was reached to have an inquiry committee which would probe allegations of incompetence and administrative inefficiency against Pandey.
A Memorandum of Agreement was also signed to this effect on 16 August to break the deadlock.
However, the university was hit with fresh protests after the appointment of the new pro-vice chancellor.