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Manipur University vice-chancellor Professor Adya Prasad Pandey was suspended by the HRD ministry with immediate effect from Monday until the inquiry constituted against him was completed and action taken thereof. The suspension order was signed by deputy secretary to the government of India Surat Singh.
The order said, “Due to a long-drawn agitation against Pandey, by the students and teachers in the campus of the Manipur University, the University was in a state of turmoil.”
“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 under provisions of Statute 13(1) of the Statutes of the Manipur University Act, 2005 read with Section 16 of the General Clause Act, 1897, 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,” said the order.
The government of Manipur has informed that the agitation against Pandey has led to serious law and order problem and administrative crises in the state, it said.
To resolve the impasse by the agitating students and teachers association, an inquiry committee consisting of T. Nandakumar Singh, former acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya and Prof MK Choudhary, former vice-chancellor of Tezpur University, was constituted on August 17, the order said.
Subsequently, agitation in the varsity campus was temporarily suspended on August 22 after a period of 85 days and the Manipur University started functioning the next day with Pandey proceeding on leave. Resuming of duties by Pandey has further deteriorated the atmosphere of the University, said the order.
Pandey on September 4 claimed that he had resumed his duties after completion of 30 days’ leave that began on August 2. He claimed that he had not received any letter for extension of leave even though the university’s registrar (in-charge) Dorendrajit Singh said Pandey’s leave had been extended with effect from September 1 until the completion of the inquiry proceedings against him and a necessary follow-up action was taken on the inquiry report.
The V-C’s refusal to accept the leave extension and subsequent resumption of duty has resorted the protesting groups to resume their agitation, once again putting at risk the academic atmosphere of the campus.
Manipur University Teachers’ Association executive member N Sanatombi said the varsity community appreciated the endeavour of President Ram Nath Kovind and the HRD ministry for suspending Pandey.
He further lauded the state government for taking up the matter with the Centre and informed about the serious law and order problem in the state arising from the issue.
Lauding the CSOs and all the stakeholders for their support in the demand for removal of Pandey, N Sanajaoba appealed for continued support until Pandey was terminated, punished and compensated for the loss to the university fund. Manipur University Students’ Union appealed to the state government to vacate Pandey from his Sanjanthong quarter in Imphal.