TODAY -

Up against the saffron brigade

Yambem Laba *

DESAM Protest to remove MU VC Prof Adya Prasad Pandey at BJP Head Office :: July 16 2018
DESAM Protest to remove MU VC Prof Pandey at BJP Head Office on July 16 2018 :: Pix - Shankar Khangembam



Manipur University is today dead. Whether the central university is brain dead or comatose is a matter of opinion but the fact remains that it is on life support. The university has been paralysed for the last 60 days with the Administrative Block shut down, all classes and examinations cancelled as all head of departments of the various units have tendered their resignations along with all the officers except for a registrar-in-charge.

The students, faculty and em-ployees of the university are united with the common cause of removing the vice-chancellor. The matter is going out of hand as all colleges are also on the verge of boycotting their classes in solidarity. A panicky BJP government in the state has viewed the situation as so disturbing that it had suspended the availability of mobile Internet facilities blaming social media for the situation.

When the Manipur University Students Union launched its move to dislodge Professor Adya Prasad Pandey from the post of vice chancellor, little did they realise that they would be taking the bull of the saffron brigade by its horns. There was no way the Sangh Parivar would be going back on the meticulously carried out move to introduce Hindutva among Manipuris. A majority of the state's inhabitants became Hindus some 400 years ago through a Bengali missionary called Santidas Gosai who used fire and sword to spread Hinduism with the help of then King Pamheiba.

But the Manipuri Meiteis follow a distinct brand of Hinduism retaining its centuries old pre-Hindu tribal roots alongside newly-found Hindu traditions including the classical Manipuri Ras Leela dance. And with the post of the vice-chancellor of Manipur University vacant, they thought that they had made the right move at the most opportune time.

Pandey was just 20 days away from his date of superannuation of 65 years when he was appointed vice-chancellor. It is not known whether a search committee was involved in his selection but it gave him a new lease of life after he assumed charge on 26 October 2016 for five years.

Apart from his not-too-distinct a career as a faculty member of the department of economics at Banaras Hindu University, he had with him a string of political credentials. First, he was based in Banaras, the place from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi got elected.

Second and more importantly, his wife Veemla is a leader of the women's front of the ruling BJP she is the national vice president of the party's Mahila Morcha. She is said to be a blood relative of BJP strongman and the Union home minister Rajnath Singh and a "rakhi sister" of Modi. Thus, she holds a firm position not only in the Prime Minister's constituency but also in the national setup of the BJP.

Perhaps the VC posting was given to Pandey as a reward for services rendered or as an agent general of the Sangh Parivar.

Pandey soon made his position clear to Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh and his group of ministers, who are at best, neo-converts to the BJP fold. He got himself declared as a "Y" Category security threat and began moving around in an armoured SUV followed by a horde of security forces drawn from the CRPF and not the Manipur Rifles, as was done by former VCs.

He started arriving late in office and stayed up till late in the night receiving visitors including ladies seeking political alms and favours. He also frequently moved out of the state on unannounced visits to Delhi and Banaras, which sometimes lasted for two to three weeks. It soon became clear that he was running a parallel administration out of his office at Canchipur in the Manipur University complex.

The first slip came when, after assuming office, he gifted Rs two lakh to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad, the students' wing of the BJP. Then he awarded Rs 25 crore to a firm in Lucknow for the installation of smart classrooms in the university.

Thereafter was the award of another contract the supply of university examination answer scripts at Rs 25 per script from another firm in Lucknow against the old rate of Rs 5 per script, which were supplied by a local firm. Now the agitating students are saying that both the Lucknow firms are controlled by his family members.

Then in March this year, the 105th Indian Science Congress was held in Manipur University which Modi himself attended. But according to a senior professor of the University, while everyone saw the Prime Minister coming, nobody noticed Pandey's son also descending on Imphal at the same time. He had apparently arrived to supervise a major business deal, which his father had worked out for him, in connection with the Science Congress. And that apparently was the last straw on the camel's back.

Soon the rumbles started, first with the Manipur University Students' Union asking for his ouster. They were soon joined by the Manipur University Teacher's Association and the Manipur University Staff Association.

The MUTA initially tried to meditate after they met the Governor, who is the Rector, and the chief minister, who urged the VC to meet the agitating students but Pandey remained adamant stating that he would not resign and felt there was no need to meet them.

In the meantime, the Union ministry of human resource development deputed a joint secretary to study the situation and although he met representatives of the Musu, the Muta was kept out. Things took a turn for the worse when volunteers of the Democratic Students Association of Manipur tried to storm the Raj Bhawan to demand an end to the MU crisis, which had, by then, begun to look like spoiling the career of thousands of students across the state and in the police action that followed, a leader was grievously hurt.

Then Pandey and Biren Singh simultaneously stated that the head of departments had tendered their resignation at the behest of insurgent groups. The chief minister, while explaining his inability to solve the crisis, revealed that an insurgent group had served the VC with a demand note of Rs five crore.

Such statements further infuriated students and they called for a 48-hour general strike on 18 and 19 July, which had a crippling effect on the state. On the 19 July, evening thousands of Manipuri women, armed with flaming torches, began converging towards Imphal from all sides. They were halted by the police in strong force and rained down hundreds of tear gas shells and mock bombs and it seemed that the whole of Imphal city would burn for the sake of a vice-chancellor who simply will not quit.

Then it appeared that chief minister Biren Singh's nerves gave away. Sensing strong public apathy towards his administration, he ordered his special secretary (home) to suspend Internet services over the mobile phone network to shut down Facebook and WhatsApp, blaming them as carriers of misinformation and misleading news. It is not known if he had requested the VC to step down or not but at the moment round one seemed to have gone in Pandey's favour.

The Union HRD ministry had in the meantime constituted an Inquiry Committee headed by a former Acting Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court and also consisting of two top HRD and UGC officials. Liberals are of the view that it should not seem the VC has been hanged by a mob but must be allowed to face the Inquiry Committee.

Manipur University, which came into existence as a state university in 1980, saw a year-long agitation to remove the first vice-chancellor T Ratho where students lost a whole academic year. The MU has, of late, become a den of corruption and favouritism and Pandey's predecessor, Professor HNK Sarma, a local academic, is today facing a CBI probe on charges of corruption. Another former VC who later became a Congress MLA, Ng Bijoy Singh and then registrar RK Ranjan Singh, were shot in their legs by an insurgent group. The incident, according to some, was related to the award of contract works in the MU campus.

But all said and done, it is hoped that the university will emerge in in a cleaner atmosphere both academically as well as financially. Pandey has reiterated his stance that he will not resign under any circumstances. On the other hand, Mayanglangbam Dayaman Singh, president of the Musu told The Statesman, "There is no going back for us now till the VC goes" but that doesn't seem likely in the near future.

The final question that needs to be asked from Pandey is, his political ties with the BJP and Sangh Parivar notwithstanding, will he have the moral courage to remain in office for the rest of his term even if he gets a clean chit in the probe against him?

Courtesy The Statesman


* Yambem Laba wrote this article for The Statesman and was published at The Sangai Express
The writer is the Imphal-based special representative of The Statesman.
This article was posted on August 08 , 2018.


* 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
  • Laija (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #2 : Gallery
  • Countdown to Manipur Polo International
  • Education for 21st century jobs
  • The corrupt tiger
  • Can you stop falling rain :: Poem
  • Scholars translate celebrated Nepali..
  • Of harassment at Imphal-Moreh Route
  • Need for a strong Opposition
  • Lamklai Kummoi Maring Fest #2: Gallery
  • National School Games- Fencing: Gallery
  • We want the ring...
  • The Queen's Heart :: Poem
  • Education of heart: Heart of Education
  • Mao - The Revolutionary
  • Discussion on India-Vietnam Relation
  • Sangai of the Sangai festival
  • Jarnail in his element
  • Tough road awaits Sarita in World Boxing
  • ACAUT says NNPGs unable to rein..
  • State has no say in ILP - Conrad
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #2 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Nga Mela #2 : Gallery
  • Rajkumar Jhaljit : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #2
  • Ningol Chakouba :: Poem
  • World Diabetes Day 2018
  • Bartending as a career option
  • The unintended windfall
  • Issues before the Parliamentary polls
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #3: Gallery
  • Rock Show at X-Jam 2018 : Gallery
  • Bloody Phanek wins at Signs Festival
  • Gender Equality & Development :: Book
  • I am friend of India for life- Japanese PM
  • 2019 Commonwealth Scholarship in UK
  • 55th Nagas' Meet at New Delhi
  • Black money and the dream-merchants
  • What steps to address traffic chaos ?
  • Govt extends ban on seven Meitei groups
  • It won't be easy for Mary Kom - Nieva
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Mysore #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #1 : Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 54 :: Poem
  • Religious education- Part of our life
  • Free Heart Camp at Kakching Bazar
  • Jobs at Gyan Jyoti Foundation
  • Nothing seems change; everything remains
  • Predatory instinct of man: Targeting 'Manipur'
  • Lihaaz- Classical Music at IIT Guwahati
  • Mera Wayungba #1 : Gallery
  • L Modhuchandra : Young Scientist Award
  • Chavang Kut celebrated in Delhi
  • Temple runs for a pilgrim's journey
  • First day of All India Young Writers' Festival
  • Ningol Chakkouba in era of materials
  • Constitutional breakdown in governance
  • Attacked on Environment Defenders
  • Kut festival @ Chandel : Gallery
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #2 : Gallery
  • Karen people's pursuit for survival..
  • Glamorous Maniac & their new single
  • City bus for high end of society- Why not?
  • Youth Leadership Camp at Yairipok
  • Course in Political Science at NEHU
  • Of Indian Constitution
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Nga Mela #1 : Gallery
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #2 : Gallery
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #1
  • Old Man in the Winter :: Poem
  • Drawing inspiration from Dave Mustaine
  • Condemns attack on Agnes Kharshiing
  • NEUFC Fan Park celebrates
  • Achievement lists of PDA is 'Boring'
  • MPP : Down but not out
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Kwatha Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba: Biggest fest of Manipuri
  • Mizoram Under the British Rule :: Book
  • Dr. Udit Raj: a Crusader
  • Undisclosed #MeToo campaign in Manipur?
  • Drought :: Poem
  • When Money matters, sincerity is out..
  • Detaining two more at Jiribam
  • Ningol Chakkouba : Flash Presentation
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #1: Gallery
  • Chingjaroi, Atengba, Ahongbi :: eMing
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Those Sparks and Sounds
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #2
  • Understanding RSS :: Book Review
  • Cry of a Dying River - 53 :: Poem
  • A take on Freedom of Media
  • Pay of private school teachers
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #2: Gallery
  • Art Festival @ Imphal : Gallery
  • 26 month left to meet AIDS 90-90-90 target
  • Tengnoumanbi- Essential food item ..
  • Dr Abdul Kalam vision of transforming India
  • A Wintry Landscape :: Poem
  • 'Say no to Lead Paints'
  • Completing bigger task
  • Biomedical wastes: Health, ecology at stake
  • NIA files chargesheet against 5 NSCN (K)
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Kolkata : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #3: Gallery
  • Irony of idea of communal harmony
  • Blood Donation at RGU, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Career opportunities in Ecology #2
  • Down the Country Road :: Poem
  • Change of season: Prepare for winter
  • Govt forgotten promises to improve traffic
  • ATC demand: Setback to pluralistic Manipur
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • Descent & inheritance among Zeliangrong
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #3
  • Seminar : Reforming Teaching-Learning
  • Attitude :: Poem
  • Tourism: A key sector in the world
  • NH7 Weekender Meghalaya : Day 2 Report
  • Early solution in Manipur difficult : Army
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #1 : Gallery
  • Pukning Pothasang: Suicide prevention
  • Where have all the flowers gone? Khurkhul
  • Engaging Failed State :: Book Review
  • eNorth East Award 2018
  • Song of a Tree :: Poem
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 Kicks Off
  • Unsolved case of Pravish Chanam
  • Imphal Jamboree : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #1
  • A beacon of hope
  • Mishing tribe of Assam
  • Ransomware that made the world cry
  • State Level Painting Competition
  • A suggestion for a strong democracy
  • Issues before Parliamentary polls
  • Kut Festival @ Kangpokpi : Gallery
  • HIV : Gap between research & impact
  • My Tryst With Manipur : A Memoir :: Review
  • Cultural heritage (Kut fete)
  • Bleeding inside Brain treated at SKY
  • Indo-Myanmar Regional Border Meet
  • In Her Arms Of Death :: Poem
  • Pravish Chanam : No Action by CBI
  • Assam Don Bosco : University of the Year
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 in Meghalaya
  • Media that criticize are not your enemy, CM
  • MU limping back to normalcy
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #1: Gallery
  • Happy Kut Wishes :: Flash Presentation
  • November Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Weavers training for Mamit , Mizoram
  • Diwali Lagao : Mapugidi Munda
  • Career opportunities in Ecology
  • Jobs at Trueblue, Taxi Service, Imphal
  • CM should not let this opportunity out..
  • Where will Oct 31, 2018 stand ?
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #2: Gallery
  • Kut Festival :: Series of Articles
  • Comedian Huirem Manglem passed away
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #2
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Overview of Buddha's teachings on Karmma
  • Technological Globalisation and Manipur
  • Initiate disciplinary action against Police
  • 13th Indo-Myanmar Border Committee Meet
  • .....but traffic is still in mess
  • Obstinately silly or immense clout
  • 'Ethnic Conflicts in Manipur: Issues'
  • Mapithel Dam Irrigation Canals #2
  • Kangla is like Ayodhya for Meiteis..Sacred
  • Health Care & Status in North East :: Book
  • Speaker List: Imphal Jamboree- Youth Fest
  • Roars of #MeToo to douse the flame of lust
  • A Welcome Change :: Poem
  • Liangmai community performed at NE fest
  • Immature press statement from NDPP: NPF
  • Our expectation from the government
  • October 31 : Rally and bandh
  • Chalwa Village in Kangpokpi #3 : Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs East Bengal : Gallery
  • Lullaby by This Chord :: Critical Analysis
  • Imphal Jamboree - Youth festival
  • Getting ready for Act East Policy
  • Hey! You're a role model :: Poem
  • Training on Cultivation of Mushroom
  • Yitachu is propagating misguiding facts
  • Naga Talk: Wary yet committed & hopeful
  • Fashion Show: Lamklai Kummoi: Gallery
  • Pukning Pothasang : Bereavement
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-2
  • RIST Talk -37 : The Physics of Lunar Dust
  • Cry of a Dying River #51 :: Poem
  • WhatsApp cheating : Unexplained loss
  • Cat :: Poem
  • TSA cautions EMRS School
  • Non-issue turns issue
  • Cong gunning for Governor
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #1: Gallery
  • Sanjenbam Bhanumati Devi : Kavyabhusan
  • Church and climate change
  • Environmental human rights: Its evolution
  • Developing a database on bio-resource #2
  • Incomplete Love :: Poem
  • Beauty benefits of potato
  • The toddler calls
  • UNC : Acceptable to the Zeliangrongs?
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #1
  • Can we end tobacco pandemic ?
  • Experiencing Senapati town
  • City Bazaar :: Poem
  • Eepan Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Mapithel Dam Irrigation Canals #1
  • Chumthang Crafts at European Congress
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #3
  • Narmada Sougaijam - Natl Konkan Award
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #2 : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba : Unity - hill & valley
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-1
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #2: Gallery
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #2 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-19 : Gallery
  • Pari Imom (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #3 : Gallery
  • Jarnail Singh @ MU : Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Sizo Festival @Saikot : Gallery
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS