TODAY -

The Unfinished Agenda of Tribal Students in Manipur

Adim Gonmei *

Manipur University Guide Map



At the first place, Manipur University was a campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University since 1972 until it was established as a State University in 1984. As a State University, reservation for tribal was supposed to be 31 per cent against the 37 per cent population in the State of Manipur.

There is a systematic deprivation and discriminatory process followed in the recruitment of teaching and non-teaching staff. Since 1984, the recruitment in the teaching and non-teaching staff has reduced to mere 10% when the University was brought under the Government of Manipur, which in fact was not based on State's Reservation Policy. Even this 10% was not fully implemented in letter and spirit all these years. It is true that all the tribal faculty members of the past and present were not recruited on the quota basis against the existing polity of 31% reservation of the schedule tribes (STs) in jobs and admissions in all State Government institutions based on the proportion of tribal population to that of the population of the State.

Apart from the existing system in the Manipur University, the tribal begin to witness another form of dimension of rights deprivation that only added more salt to the wound. That is conversion of Manipur University to Central University wef 13/10/2005 received and later the Manipur University Act. No. 54 of 2005 the assent of the President on 28/12/2005. The Manipur University has become too localised in its 25 years of existence.

The conversion of Manipur University to a Central one sounds laudable, but it has not resulted into a better and fairer deal for the tribal students and tribal employees of Manipur University with regard to seats in courses of study/hostel/employment etc. When the Manipur University was under the State Government and the reservation quota for SC/STs was 33% which is the State norms, the authority in the Manipur University flatly refused to abide by the repeated UGC directives to do justice to the tribal students.

When the Manipur University was converted to Central University recently, the reservation for tribal was reduced to mere 7.5% for tribal who constitute 37% of the population to that of the State population. It is very surprise to learn that the high expectation of all the students was only for few selected group of peoples who occupy the major chunk in the Manipur State. The Central Government Reservation Policy, that is, 15% for SC, 27% for OBC and 7.5% for STs was strictly adhered to by the University authority.

It was argued that this system was also not fulfilled. This was manifested in the recruitment of 70 teaching posts in various departments Vide Recruitment No. MU/4-16/94 FCY (pt-IV), dated 9th June 2006. Out of the 70 posts, only one post was reserved for ST category. As far as my knowledge is concerned, even that one lies vacant. We observe that Manipur University authorities are always looking for opportunity/ways and means to grab all benefits that came out of the University. On the other hand, the tribal students pointed their fingers against the MU authorities with their fact-findings headed by MUTSU.

The opportunity Knock at the door when Manipur University was converted to Central one. Now the authority of MU claimed that they are bound to strictly adhere to the UGC guidelines and regulations. It may be noted here that those people who always look for every means to avoid the UGC guidelines and the State of Manipur's 100 Point Roster are now hell bent to follow the Central 'Reservation norms and the 200 Point Roster' as the same is beneficial to a particular Majority Community of the State.

In the light of the state of affairs stated above, the tribal students in the Manipur University under the banner of Manipur University Tribal Students' Union (MUTSU) 2008 began demanding justice for the Tribal Community. We were hopeful that our sincere approach would be addressed because the General/SC/ and OBC category are all occupied by them but this remains just a mere dreams as we all know that MU authority are popularly known for its biased attitude. I was very innocent regarding all these matters but then as my mind is cornered with one particular area, ie feeling proud for being in one of the prestigious University. As I was exposed to this environment, I began to analyse all these arguments and found that there was a systematic discrimination procedure deeply rooted in the Manipur University which is put into practice by the authority concerned.

As a result of all these facts, the tribal in Manipur University went for peaceful form of agitation demanding to do justice for the Tribal Community which the University authority flatly rejected by saying that they are helpless as they are bound by the UGC rules and regulations which prove otherwise. There are many Universities that have local adjustment. Carrying local adjustment by the Government of Manipur and University Authority concerned would never be rejected by the Central Government or UGC because the University is for all the people of Manipur irrespective of class, caste, colour, gender, religion, sex or place of birth, etc.

In the course of the peaceful agitation a large number of State Security Forces were deployed to disperse the agitating students through the use of force and violence means. The peaceful students' agitation was lathy-charged and consequently many students were injured and hospitalised. Security Forces also shot teargas in which some were hurt in legs, thigh, chest etc. In one occasion the peaceful agitating students went towards the Manipur University guest house in order to report the reason of the agitation where the MU authority were carrying out secret interview for the post of teaching staff which the same was deadly opposed by the tribal for violating the reservation norms. On the way, State Security Forces threatened us shouting 'we will shoot you all, don't you know that we are killers'.

We were taken aback in a state of confusion. Why such a well-built structure, looking gentle with two/three stars shouting undemocratic word that should never have been spoken by Security Personnel. This may serve as a reminder if he is still alive. It was a well known fact that such security personnel from Manipur were given award during Independence Day without knowing the true character.

Again an incident which looked so odd occurred in the University Campus. A group of youngsters from outside came inside the campus and began to challenge the tribal students hurling insulting words that finally ensued physical clash injuring many tribal students as they were less in number compared to large group which came in for that purpose. In another incident a mob armed with sticks chased us throwing stones and many were injured. During our agitation they frequently said, 'why you people are asking for Moon and Stars'.

I have no grudge feeling against them because they were just innocent youngsters. They were instigated by some people who have negative attitude towards the agitating tribal students. The agitation went for three to four months. On many occasions, the tribal students were at the point of leaving en-mass the University if no solution came on the way. After a series of meetings with the Chief Minister and his Cabinet Ministers, all tribal MLAs, Chief Secretary, MU authorities, there is no sight of positive response and all these meetings ended up on emotional note rather than finding solutions. When the Tribal Students were in full swing fighting for their rights, on the other side, a regular class was going on for the non-tribal. The agitating students and leaders lost many of their precious time, money, energy, hour and class room teaching for the sake of the tribal community.

As the agitation continued, the momentum of the agitation increased. Now things were different. The State Security Forces came along with empty trucks. We were told to climb up and filled the empty trucks and in case of refusing we were kicked at the back and threatened to shoot. Those empty trucks were fully loaded with many people irrespective of girls and boys. We were packed together and escorted out from the campus. Some students standing thereby shouted at us which is an insulting one. Some trucks went to Porompat Police Station and some to Police Headquarters at Secretariat.

On the way we sang 'we shall overcome one day'. Many students went to their respective villages; towns for the tribal had already vacated the University. Some students were provided with shelters by the student leaders; some went to their relatives and friends. The agitation became the order of the day as a result of it; the 'All Tribal Students' Union Manipur ATSUM' became part of the agitation.

The joining of ATSUM had great impact as this body is the apex body of all tribal students in the State of Manipur. The agenda of local adjustment demanded by the tribal body was flatly rejected by the authority concerned, terming the demand non-negotiable. Consequently, the tribal began to demand for separate Hill University where tribal will have a say in all the matters. The tribal did not demand another Central University that will have 7.5% for tribal. In case of Manipur University 92.5% went to the Majority Community which the tribal students considered that this was too much an injustice and discrimination but then the tribal remained helpless.

Hope of getting better facilities and opportunities completely vanished when those share went to few sections of people at the cost of the tribal students. It is very sad to note that the tribal students in and outside the campus emotionally and mentally felt more and more insecure along with the physical and infrastructural improvements of the campus. As time went by, the diminishing trend of tribal population (students and staff) is visible in the Manipur University. As a result of it, Manipur University is popularly known as Meitei University.

In the mean time, student leaders were summoned for talks to bring an amicable solution to the prevailing situation. For this purpose, ATSUM represented the tribal students and went for talks with clear objectives of separate Hill University for the tribal or not to accept or negotiate on any circumstances if the main objectives were not met. But for the reason they think best, they came along with the 'Indira Gandhi National Tribal University' (lGNTU) which is also a Central University. The apprehension of the students, student leaders of MU and also the visionary leaders who are very much concerned for the tribal cause is slowly and steadily taking its shape penetrating into the IGNTU. Now the authority concerned claimed that 7.5% reservation for the tribal would be given in teaching and non-teaching staff the same case with the Manipur University.

In the recent recruitment for the teaching post, out of four two went to Meitei and two Tribals. It seems that the Hon'ble Vice Chancellor didn't have humane consideration for the tribals. After long struggle and sufferings, passing through the most painful time in the history of tribal in the highest educational institutions, enduring through the chain of suppression, subjugation, physically and emotionally tortured, our past tribal brothers and sisters had suffered for the sake of all the tribal. Though not satisfactorily, because of short sighted view or any reason, we got the IGNTU. Now, starting from tribal students, scholars, professors, politicians and all parents must shoulder together the same responsibilities because it is your sons and daughters who will face the same fate in future.

In the light of the above discussion, I would like to chip in few sentences delivered by Phungzathang Tonsing, the Hon'ble Power Minister at that time, dated 9/9/2009 The Sangai Express under the heading 'CM dedicates University Centre to tribals' proclaimed that "opening of the institute today is the significant achievement of the Government. Urging all concerned to cooperate and strive for the future development of the institute, the Minister strongly emphasised in ensuring that the institute is not transformed to a centre of agitation".

In my opinion, if the hon'ble Minister emphasised areas related to the rights of the tribal students and related matters, rather than the stated one, it would have been wise on his part. Yes, the tribal are fed up with agitation and strikes but the authority concerned who are responsible to cater to all community are never fed up to frame policies and acts to extract the maximum benefit at the cost of the tribal students/community.

Lastly but not the least, to my observation is that, particularly tribal parents who love to see their children grow up and occupy respectable position in the highest institutions may remain just a mere dream if we do not set things right by now. To my view, the Tribal Community has no reason to be happy because the new centre, that is, 'Indira Gandhi National Tribal University' has taken the shape of Manipur University to continue the same pattern/system of subjugation, suppression, manipulation and systematic deprivation of our rights. The same case will follow if we are not vigilant and sensitive to our Constitutional rights given by the Constitution of India.

The write up is based on self experience of perception and response of State Government.


* Adim Gonmei wrote this article in The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on August 04 2011.



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.


LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Nangna Helli Nungshiba #2 :: eRang
  • Pung Chollom : Gallery
  • Wakhal Seireng :: Book Review
  • Imphal Jamboree by Global Shapers
  • Importance of regular health check-ups
  • Meetei demand for ST is Constitutional.. #2
  • Weapon Display organized at Moreh
  • Ex-Servicemen Rally organized
  • AR helps Orphanage & Old Age Home
  • Search of comprehensive culture & identity
  • List of MLA (Jan 2018) #1 : Gallery
  • Manipur Gas Today :: Android App
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #3: Gallery
  • GNRC media fellowship announced
  • The Meiteis- Festival & celebration maniacs
  • How to make bridal mehndi long lasting
  • Governor's attention drawn to RIMS
  • Scientist develops prototype of electric car
  • Stereotypes about NE make people living..
  • Light Show at Loktak Lake #5 : Gallery
  • Candlelight vigil for Pravish : Gallery
  • Imbroglio of ethnic identity of Ranglong
  • Foundation For Excellence scholarship
  • Time Table - Class XII Exam 2018
  • Mail spoofing- Trickery by deception
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Trial by fire
  • Call for solution before election
  • Villagers along Myanmar border get pass
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Tonreimung, Willubuibou: eMing
  • Art and Artist, A Creative Space
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #2 : Gallery
  • Ode to Thy Mellow Light :: Poem
  • Xmas with Meitei eche at Phaijol
  • Time Table - Class XI Exam 2018
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2017 :: News Timeline
  • IMC , now another hurdle to traffic mgmt
  • Setting aside two days for the people
  • Maring: Kummui Chaa-um : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #5 : Gallery
  • Statehood Day Women's Polo Tournament
  • Time Table - HSLC Exam 2018
  • Bananas: Beauty's best friend
  • DPC for Follower at Manipur Police
  • Job Openings at JCRE Skill Solutions
  • The lost treasure
  • Nagas' Interests : Stand of NPF MSU
  • Nagaland polls on schedule: HM
  • Mukna Kangjei Tournament #2: Gallery
  • Keisham Manihar : Natyabhusan(Leela)
  • World Tourism Day #3: Gallery
  • Responsibility of protecting the environment
  • Phishing vs Vishing: The Verbal Challenge
  • BNHS Bi-monthly Program for Jan-Feb
  • Managing weight for preventing diabetes
  • Making democracy peoples' participatory
  • Progressing from media to SC
  • Manipur to set up modern food lab
  • Gaan Ngai @ Kakhulong Khun: Gallery
  • A trip to Moreh #2 : Gallery
  • How long catchy slogans keep hopes alive
  • Recycling of hospital waste-water
  • I am sometime or somewhere : Poem
  • Angami Zapu Phizo's Surreal 2017 AD
  • Film "Legacy Of King Narak" awarded
  • Of PM and our CM
  • Patronising the killing machines ?
  • Deferment of polls unlikely: Ravi
  • PM may visit Manipur in March
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #2: Gallery
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #2: Gallery
  • Transform Colleges into Innovation Centres
  • New Delhi: World Book Fair 2018 :: Review
  • Cry Of A Dying River...12 :: Poem
  • Workshop on National Pension for NE
  • Law enforcers action - Well & good
  • Final pact yet to see light of day
  • Cold wave hits Manipur
  • Take out the cymbals, Manoharsai to stay
  • Indo-Naga Peace Process :: Articles
  • MaiOn - Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #2: Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #4 : Gallery
  • Is Global Warming Natural or Anthropogenic
  • Prof Gangmumei Kamei: Legendary hero
  • Common Education System rally organized
  • DAMMS launched 2018 calendar
  • Chorus for 'Solution Not Election'
  • NEROCA FC Vs Indian Arrows #1 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai @Moirangkhom : Gallery
  • I was born healthy, I wanna die healthy
  • Practice peace & change the life
  • TSA Moreh Block installed
  • Cycle Rally: common education system
  • Ethics, medical profession & soaring fees
  • Press Club observes foundation day
  • Meet on film equipment
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Meira rally for Pravish : Gallery
  • Accelerate momentum to endTB for SDGs
  • The call that can't be turned down
  • Live@MDU: New act with same old vibes
  • 1st Centre of Excellence- Electronics Skill
  • LED Lights installed by Loktak Station
  • NE tragedy: Policy failures & influx
  • Angaoba - Scenes #3 :: eRang
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Result: Manipur Sangai Intl Digital salon
  • Use Swachhata App to Make Imphal No. 1
  • Career @ events and celebration
  • Night nourishing
  • Indo-Nepal Friendship: 25 yrs of Don Bosco
  • Understanding the indices of life
  • Poppy cultivation & drug cartels
  • Emoinu Khoiramba @Koubru #1: Gallery
  • Day 10: Closing of Sangai Fest #4 : Gallery
  • The creation of the universe, matter...
  • Mumbai: The city of dreams
  • Let this new year kill your new fears
  • Asian Waterbird Census: Count waterbirds
  • Looking for a better inclusive alternative
  • Coaching & commercialisation of education
  • New Year picnic @ Singda Dam : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #3 : Gallery
  • Despite Stolen Dreams :: Book Rvw
  • Handloom Training @Hojai : Gallery
  • The Perfect timing
  • IGAR (south) meets Chief Minister
  • Communique from Neiphiu Rio on NDPP
  • Discussion on 'Rohingyas' at Delhi
  • In the process of making change- Manipur
  • Looking ahead from vantage point 2017
  • 'Naga problem is an International issue'
  • Manipur tops insurgency fatalities in NE
  • NEROCA FC Vs East Bengal #1: Gallery
  • World Tourism Day #2: Gallery
  • Immediate Manipur
  • Easter Peace :: Poem
  • You are what you eat
  • Goals for Girls: Leadership Summit @Delhi
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1: Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Front Page Photo #6: Gallery
  • LUCIFER-X released debut EP
  • ..on the ocean of despondence :: Poem
  • Happy new year to State lovers
  • New year, new me: Re-designing self
  • Quiz Competition & Career Awareness
  • Calendar for the Year 2018 :: e-pao Tools
  • Gaan Ngai : Zeliangrong festival :: Flash
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Crowd @ Flower Festival @Mao #4: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai Festival of Zelianglong
  • Goodbye 2017, welcome 2018
  • Cry of a dying river- 11 :: Poem
  • Free Heart OPD & Echocardiogram
  • Peoples' mandate: what next?
  • Understanding Manipur and its history
  • Kwatha (Indo-Myanmar Border) #2: Gallery
  • Thang Ta @Parlimentary : Gallery
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Bamboo for poverty alleviations
  • A costly peace deal
  • The song of the speech-impaired : Poem
  • Opportunity for NE Youth @Delhi/NCR
  • Chief Of Army Staff visits Manipur
  • Waiting for another begining
  • NE: Little change albeit promises galore
  • Flower Festival @ Mao #3 : Gallery
  • Miss Manipur 2017 #2 : Gallery
  • Why the Ngamu Fish ?
  • Unsung heroes
  • Wishing a goa in Manipur!
  • Handloom Weaver at Nagaon, Assam
  • Reminder on role of media & political party
  • Hospital death: Deliver justice if delivery ..
  • Restricted Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Lourembam Bedabati : Sangeetbhusan
  • Culturals @ Mera Houchongba #3 : Gallery
  • Handloom Training @Assam : Gallery
  • Purgatory :: Poem
  • Survival of Manipur..in the hands of Meiteis
  • A glimpse of happiness
  • Blessing of Christmas
  • India, ASEAN & dismal infrastructure in NE
  • Meetei Chanu 2017 #1 : Gallery
  • Ras Leela @Parliment committee: Gallery
  • List of RIST popular talks during 2014-2017
  • Career at Insurance #2
  • Rape & murder of Shila Nengneikim Haokip
  • Manipuri troupe @Serendipity Arts Fest, Goa
  • Handloom Weaver at Hojai, Assam
  • 'Good Governance Day' & Manipur
  • 51st Mr Manipur Contest 2017 #1 : Gallery
  • Christmas eve @ CCpur #2 : Gallery
  • Fireflies: Documentary selected in Athens
  • Public Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Christmas eve @ CCpur #1 : Gallery
  • Pui Thangamliu #2 :: eRang
  • Christmas Carol @ Lamphel : Gallery
  • 4th Intl Sankritan Day #2 : Gallery
  • Royal Crematorium at Bangkok #2 : Gallery
  • Christmas Carol at Namdulong : Gallery
  • K Padmakumar's Play 'Sambal' : Gallery
  • Ng. Brajachand: Veteran Scientist of Manipur
  • General Holidays 2018 : Govt of Manipur
  • Three ladies and a polo tournament
  • 3rd Flower Festival @ Mao #2 : Gallery
  • Lafoi Shamda puthorkpa #1 : Gallery
  • Sagolshem Tijendra :: Sangeetbhusan
  • Nupilal Ningsing Lamjen : Gallery
  • cYK_rb TwaI :: Seireng
  • Manipur Sangai Festival 2016 #7 : Ooba
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download it
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS