A brawl among the hostellers of the National Institute of Technology, Imphal has snowballed into an issue. The media in particular has been charged for magnifying the issue. This is indeed true, for some of the national media operating outside the State, both print and electronic, went overboard while reporting the incident. A glance at some of the reports carried by ‘reputed’ and ‘reliable’ national newspapers have mostly been biased. Without any effort of ascertaining the facts and the circumstances that led to the incident, these newspapers had relied on telephonic conversation with some non-locals students, who claimed themselves to be victims of ‘terror assault’ by local students and police. The newspapers have even reported that the lives of non-local students are at peril, and that they are in constant fear. It is doubtful why the national media has not bothered to cross-check the claims made by the non-local students, either from the hostel authority or from other sources for a balanced view on the incident. With the kind of digital connectivity that we have in the country, the national media cannot give the alibi that they do not have any means or contacts to ascertain the facts of the incident. NIT being a national institute for imparting quality technical higher education can easily grab media attention, for anything that happens in the institute; and even more so when an incident like the recent one takes place. Regrettably, the national media has been outrageously careless while reporting the incident. Prof. Y. S. Rajan, chairman of the Board of Governors of NIT Imphal, have rightly put that insensible reporting by the media could have serious repercussions; even to the extent of triggering communal unrest among the students in educational campuses elsewhere in the country. A scenario of that kind is never welcomed. On the other hand, the NIT Imphal authority should not take an uninitiated stance of shying away from the media. The authorities who are the immediate guardian of the students inside the campus should not have wasted time to clarify the doubts that have been created by the national media. However, the State administration must be acknowledged for their timely intervention into the matter. We sincerely hope that the campus will once again come alive with academic vibrancy. What is required without delay is to bring back the sense of security among the non-local students. The presence of security forces inside the hostel campus can only serve a limited purpose. A better option, in the long run, would be to initiate dialogue among the students. NIT authorities should not leave any stone unturned to facilitate healthy interaction among its students.
Scuffle among students is not uncommon in a campus life. The stress and storms of adolescence, growing up to an ever unfolding world, are bound to have frictions and sparks. It is imperative that these sparks do not gain ignition. As reported, a minor incident of scuffle in the hostel took an ugly turn, when some outsiders, supposedly local hoodlums attacked a few non-local students outside the campus. Those hoodlums were apparently taking advantage of the current ILP movement. Let the incident remind our esteemed leaders of the movement that the meaning of ‘illegal immigrant’ can be misinterpreted to spew xenophobic venom on any non-local.
Leader Writer: Senate Kh