More than a dozen students protesting against the non-conduct of classes in their colleges were injured in Manipur on Monday as they clashed with police who used tear gas and baton charges to disperse demonstrators.
Classes in government colleges remained suspended since February 17 after agitating teachers resorted to cease work strike as a form of intensifying their demand for implementation of 7th UGC Pay and Regulations, 2018.
Irate over the non-conduct of the classes in their recently reopened colleges, the students have been pressing the state government to bring a solution with the striking teachers to resume normal classes immediately since last Friday. Failure on the part of the state government to address their demands, a large number of students from various colleges protested on the streets near their colleges.
In one of the protests by the students of five colleges affiliated to Dhanamanjuri University, the students confronted a strong police team who used force to prevent them from protesting. The students and police first engaged in a physical struggle when the former attempted to stage the protest on the street, allegedly targeting the state Assembly where the budget session was in progress. In their bid to put the protesting students under control, the police used tear gas and baton charges. The protesting students retaliated with pelting stones.
Around the same time, students of Manipur College also staged a protest on the street near their college campus at Singjamei of Imphal.
When the students tried to stage the protest further despite repeated warning, the police fired several rounds of tear gas shells. As many as eight students were injured in the police action.
Student bodies including All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU) and Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) strongly condemned the alleged excesses meted out by the police to the students who were on “peaceful demonstration” demanding their right to education.
Talking to reporters, Human Resources secretary of AMSU, Bruce Pebam said that the excesses meted out by the police invited intense forms of agitation from the student community.
“AMSU will not remain silent. We will launch intense forms of agitations if the state government fails to find a solution and resume normal classes at the earliest,” he said.
While making an appeal to the government to address the demand of the teachers, the AMSU secretary urged the teachers to find a way which will not disturb the academic atmosphere of the students while continuing their agitations. He said that AMSU supports the demand of the teachers.