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IMPHAL | Aug 6 : At least eight volunteers of Manipur University (MU) community were reportedly hurt when police fired tear gas shell to disperse a group of protesters inside the Varsity campus this afternoon.
While the varsity community has strongly condemned the police action terming it as an unprovoked attack, police claimed they resorted to firing tear gas to diffuse confrontation between two groups.
“We condemned the excessive and unprovoked police action including use of tear gas shell, mock bombs on the democratically agitating members of the University community, especially the students,” said a joint statement of the varsity community.
As a part of the rally demanding the restoration of normalcy in the varsity, hundreds of people bearing a banner which read ‘Protest rally against the prolonged closure of Manipur University’ marched to the varsity gate. In response, volunteers of varsity community also organised a rally immediately, which resulted in an altercation between the two agitating sides.
Police contended that the situation could get out of control had they failed to disperse the agitating groups in time.
MUSU general secretary, N. Kennedy said it is very unfortunate that the government is using the innocent public to sabotage the movement of the Manipur University community.
He alleged, “One of the elders who took part in the rally has even revealed that they were given Rs. 500 by workers of some political party yesterday evening to participate in today’s rally for saving students life.”
Kennedy asked, “How come rally is being organised in different parts of the state without having any organiser and the protestors not knowing the root cause of the rally?”
Kennedy further questioned the motive of the state police for allowing the protesters to demonstrate a rally in front of the varsity gate in the wake of the prohibitory order under 144 CrPC which is imposed in the surrounding areas of the varsity. But, police said that the demonstrator demanding the restoration of MU possesses a permit to hold the rally.
One of the protesters of the Peace Rally Committee said the rally is taken up in the interest of the students of the state and to save their career which is jeopardized due to the impasse going on in the varsity.
“The rally is not related with any political party, we volunteered ourselves and came out solely without the influence of anyone, in the ideology to save the students career,” he added.
The protestors asked the varsity community to let the fact-finding committee conduct enquiry against Pandey when he is on leave, as removing a person from his post without a trial is not fair as per the Indian constitution. “As the students have stated that the allegations are genuine, it obvious that Pandey would be removed after the enquiry,” he added.~IFP