IMPHAL, October 10: It is unbecoming of an academic to resort to physical violence, this professor struck me in front of the class without any provocation.
This was stated by Hanjabam Sukhdeba Sharma, Assistant professor of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University, Manipur to reporters today. He was recounting an assault perpetrated on him by Professor Moirangthem Mani Meitei of Manipur University today at around 11.40 am.
The incident occurred when Sukhdeva was participating in the 19th orientation course along with other senior attendees. With presentations due and power point presentations to be shown, there was no electricity at the Academic Staff College at the moment. Sukhdeba had appraised the concerned co-ordinator of the course , namely one O’Brien to rectify the power situation by providing a generator or by utilizing other means. After some time, the request was complied and later O’Brien was mentioned to have confronted Sukhdeba and mentioned a sarcastic remark.
Later, the course progressed and Sukhdeba was inside the class-room when, M Mani, director of the Academic Staff College barged in and suddenly punched Sukhdeba in the face. The assault occurred in front of the several senior male and female participants of the course.
Visibly irked, Sukhdeba pointed out that it was unimaginable that a senior academic could stoop to such a level. “We do not even punish children these days, and we have here such a Professor at Manipur University who resorts to violence and manhandles a junior professor from another University,” he said.
When this IFP reporter went to the Academic Staff College to get the opinion of Prof. Mani, one woman denied that such an incident had taken place. Upon being asked for her credentials for her quote, she retracted her comment. It turned out that the woman was S Sanatombi Sinha, Professor of Manipuri department and the wife of M Mani. The Professor and his wife refused to talk to the media.
Reacting to the incident, the Manipur Student Federation (MSF) has advised Mani not to conduct the orientation course further until an amicable solution is brought in the matter. According to RN Koireng, General secretary of the federation, the cause of the problem was due to erratic power supply and this is not becoming of a university which is upgraded to Central status. He said that there should be uninterrupted power supply and pointed that many generators are lying idle near the Social Science department. These generators have been acquired just a year back but have not been sanctioned to the respective departments yet. “This may be due to the fact that the supply for the generators may have been done clandestinely ,”he added. There are no comments from MU with regard to the incident till the filing of this report.