The agitating groups of Manipur University on Wednesday agreed to suspend their 85-day-long strike seeking the resignation of the Vice-Chancellor AP Pandey. The decision comes two days after Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar approved the MoU signed by the ministry and State Government with the agitating bodies of Manipur University, which include Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU), Manipur University Teachers’ Association (MUTA) and Manipur University Staff Association (MUSA).
A report published in the The Indian Express stated that while normal classes will resume from Thursday, the demand for the removal of Pandey would continue, said MUSU chief M Dayaman. “We will reopen the university from Thursday. We are thankful to all the civil bodies and others who have extended their support. But the demand for the removal of AP Pandey is steadfast and the varsity community will stand together until it is fulfilled,” Dayaman said.
The report further stated that the MUSU chief said the decision to suspend the agitation was made after taking into account the interests of the students and their careers, which might be at risk due to the varsity impasse. The major points of the agreement include reconstituting a two-member inquiry committee to probe the allegations against the V-C and sending Pandey on leave “during the period of inquiry and until follow-up action is taken on the inquiry report by a competent authority”. The panel is being headed by the former acting Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court T Nandakumar and has former Vice-Chancellor of Tezpur University MK Choudhary as one of its members. The committee will submit its report within a month.
The representatives of MUSU, MUTA and MUSA signed the agreement along with the HRD Joint Secretary GC Hosur on one side and Manipur Government officials on the other in the presence of the Chief Minister N Biren Singh. The MUSU launched its protest demanding the removal of the V-C on May 30 last, alleging the latter of committing “administrative and financial irregularities” in the campus. The V-C, however, refuted all the charges levelled against him as “baseless”.
The situation aggravated after MUTA and MUSA joined the protest later. Almost all the head of departments and Deans of the varsity resigned, bringing the campus to a grinding halt. The protests not only paralysed the entire campus but also affected students of around 86 colleges affiliated to the varsity as results of the semester examinations got delayed.