Nowadays, the post of Vice Chancellor of Manipur University is certainly not a dream job. In the wake of the reservation row, Professor M Dhaneshore and Professor Th Jekendra had resigned under pressure from conflicting groups while the admission process for the various post graduate courses remained pending for the last three months. When Professor H Nandakumar Sharma retired he had left the matter unsolved. And the two professors who took charge one after another could not do anything to kickstart the admission process. When Prof Amar Yumnam of Economics department took over as VC i/c he immediately swung into action and took a decision the next day after a meeting of the Deans’ Committee. The committee decided to implement the academic council resolution and immediately started the admission process. Of course, there were objections and condemnations from expected quarters. But, what was of profound importance at such a time is a decision in the interest of students who had already appeared in the entrance examinations and starting of the academic session 2016-17 which has been pending for the last three years. A decisive step has been lacking for the last three months. As the admission process started, the Human Resources Development (HRD) ministry suddenly woke up from its slumber and intervened. It also appointed a regular VC which also has been pending for the last three/four months. Where was the HRD ministry for the last three months when the Manipur University campus has been embroiled in quota controversy and a chaotic situation? Manipur University authorities were in fact waiting for a central guideline on the issue of reservation in admission as there were conflicting directives from the University Grants Commission (UGC) inspite of the central laws and amendments in this regard. Yet the HRD ministry chose to remain silent when the then VC i/c Prof M Dhaneshore was at a loss on how to solve the issue and begin the admission process and again when Prof Th Jekendra was in charge. The university authorities were caught between conflicting demands of scheduled tribe and scheduled caste student groups. The scheduled caste students were demanding implementation of the central norms in reservations as envisaged in the 2006 act, while the scheduled tribe students were demanding the amended version of 2012 where the central norms were made an exception in the case of central educational institutions in the northeast region where state norms has to be followed. The confusion began when the UGC put a spanner in the works with its 2016 letter directing the implementation of the 2006 central norms first and again 2012 amendment. As the controversy continued a communal colour was added to the issue sowing seeds of enmity between the student groups of different communities. Student groups were up in arms campus violence led to the razing of the university recreation hall and destruction of other university properties. Yet, the HRD ministry remained silent while students seeking admission to the various post graduate courses in the university were in tears. No one even the state government refused to be bothered by the uncertain fate of the poor students who cannot seek admission elsewhere outside the state for lack of finances. The poor students breathed a sigh of relief when the decision to start admission process was taken after Prof Amar Yumnam took charge. Then came, the HRD missive to follow the 2012 amendment and the belated appointment of a regular VC in the university. There seems to be a design in the silence of the HRD ministry all this time as evident in the chaos created and the communal overtones generated in the MU campus in the last three months. It is a matter of opinion whether the university should implement the 2006 act or its amended version of 2012. We shall not dwell upon it. The only lacking on the part of the MU authorities was a decision. As the decision however disputed, the HRD ministry suddenly sprang into action. The HRD minister Prakash Javedkar must answer the questions as to why the ministry choose to remain silent for three long months while the students suffered and why it choose to wake up when a decision came.
Leader Writer: Irengbam Arun
Source: Imphal Free Press