On the midnight of 20th September, Manipur police conducted raids on the students’ hostels and teachers’ residences in the campus of Manipur University. Many students were injured and an atmosphere of terror was created on the university campus. 6 teachers and 89 students are reported to have been arrested following the raids. While 82 of the students were released the next day as per court orders, 7 students and all the 6 teachers were sent to jail for 15 days. The pro-Vice Chancellor subsequently issued a statement saying that all the 6 teachers have been suspended following their arrest.
Since 31st May, the students of Manipur University led by the Manipur University Students Union (MUSU) had been on strike, to protest against various corrupt malpractices of the Vice Chancellor. The Manipur University Teachers Association (MUTA) and Manipur University Staffs Association (MUSA) also supported the agitation. The university remained closed for nearly 85 days. In the course of the agitation, the striking students and staff were repeatedly attacked and harassed by the police and authorities.
The strike was suspended on August 18, following an agreement with the state government and the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) – Manipur University is a Central University – that the VC would be asked to go on leave for one month and a commission of enquiry would be appointed to investigate the allegations against him. However, the VC on resuming duty on 1st September filed a petition in the Manipur High Court against the 18th August agreement. The MUSU resumed the strike and on 17th September, the VC was suspended by the MHRD and the pro-VC was placed in charge of the University.
Subsequently the students and teachers had alleged that the pro-VC and registrar were attempting to tamper with evidence that would incriminate the former VC. In the midst of this, the police raid took place, at a time when the students were preparing for their semester examinations, causing much fear and tension.
The police raid and attack on the students and teachers of Manipur University are a part of the growing attacks by the state on students and teachers in universities across the country. Students and teachers all over the country are protesting against the attempts of the state to increasingly privatize higher education, leading to curtailment of seats, increasing fees and making higher education unaffordable for a large majority of youth. They are protesting the efforts of the authorities to prevent the students from organizing in support of their demands and against the injustices and atrocities carried out by the state against people. In particular, in Manipur, the students and teachers have always condemned and organized to expose the brutalities carried out by the state and the army, under the AFSPA and other draconian laws. These attacks on the students and teachers are aimed at crushing their movement in defence of the rights of the people and against the atrocities of the state.