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Reservation row: Manipur University buildings set ablaze; VC resigns

After announcing closure of the classes, vice-chancellor in-charge M. Dhaneshwar resigned from his post
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A protest that broke out over reservation in admission of post-graduation course turned violent on Monday night around 10.30 pm, when suspected student protesters set ablaze the recreation hall, a computer shop and a restaurant.

The protesters also destroyed several staff rooms on the university premises, following which all departments of the university were closed and classes cancelled indefinitely from today, reported The Telegraph.

According to the report, a large number of police personnel has been deployed inside the Manipur University campus, who are in high vigil to thwart further violence.  The university has witnessed protest by the Manipur University Tribal Students’ Union (MUTSU) earlier on Monday also.

After announcing closure of the classes, Vice-Chancellor (in charge) M Dhaneshwar resigned from his post. He was scheduled to visit Delhi today to meet officials of the Human Resource Ministry and the UGC to discuss the reservation issue that has been fuming in the university for a long time, but he cancelled the visit and announced his resignation. After the retirement of HNK Sharma in August, the university was running without a full-time vice chancellor.

Students ofManipur University has been protesting over the inaction of the authorities over the reservation issue for many months. Until becoming a central university in 2005, the Manipur University followed state reservation norms according to which there was a 31 per cent reservation for STs and 2 per cent reservation for SCs, the system has been continued till 2008 academic session.

But from 2009-10 academic session, the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act has been implemented in the university (which has became a central university) and that has reduced ST reservation to 7.5 per cent and SC reservation to 15 per cent and two percent reservation for other backward classes.

Legal battles began in the state high court following the change in reservation, which directed the university to follow 31 per cent for Scheduled Tribes and 2 per cent reservation for Scheduled Castes and 17 per cent for OBCs in accordance with the amendment of the Central Educational Institutions Reservation in Admission Act in 2012 and this was followed during the academic sessions 2014-15 and 2015-16.

The UGC directed the university repeatedly to follow the central reservation policy after the state high court issued its directive, which suggested that academic authority wanted the earlier reservation policy to be followed and the academic council of the university decided this year to follow the policy adopted by the UGC.

The upset students have been protesting over delay in admission to post graduate courses because of the inaction from the university authorities. Yesterday’s academic council meeting also dispersed without taking any decision on the reservation issue where the academic session was about the commence in July, which has triggered violence in and around the university premises last night.

“The university is now headless and there is uncertainty over immediate restoration of normal academic atmosphere,” a professor was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

There was a disturbed atmosphere prevailed in the campus where students demonstrated protests while yesterday’s academic session was going on. Late night, things became worse and now the university is in trouble as nobody is there to overlook. Only the human resource ministry and the UGC can resolve this issue now.

 

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