We, the undersigned academics and members of civil society, unequivocally condemn the arbitrary arrest and incarceration of six teachers and nine students of Manipur University. Six teachers and seven students have been sent to judicial custody for fifteen days, and the remaining two students for five days.
The arrests have been made under sections of the Indian Penal Code that invoke ‘an attempt to murder’, ‘wrongful confinement’, ‘extortion’, ‘kidnapping’ and ‘criminal conspiracy’ on the basis of a complaint made by Manipur University faculty, K. Yugindro Singh (and the suspended registrar M. Shyamkesho) on charges of attempt to murder and kidnapping. The six arrested professors — Dr. N. Santomba, (Dept. of. Manipuri), Prof. Chungkham Yashawanta (Dept. of Linguistics, also Dean of Humanities, and in-charge Dean of Students Welfare), Prof. Sougaijam Dorendrajit (Dept. of. Physics and Registrar-in-charge), Dr. L. Bishwanath Sharma (Dept. of. Philosophy), Prof. L. Sanjukumar (Dept. of. Biotechnology and Secretary MUTA), and Dr. Yengkhom Raghumani (Dept. of. Earth Sciences) have also been suspended with immediate effect. Following these arrests, the Manipur University campus has been turned into a cantonment, the boys hostel has had tear gas shells and mock bombs rained down upon it all of Thursday night (20 September), Internet services shut down, and all normal academic life has come to a complete halt.
Manipur University has witnessed a peaceful (in the face of great police brutality) 85 day long united agitation by its teachers, students, and staff asking for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor A P Pandey, and the constitution of an Independent Enquiry Committee to look into the allegations of his administrative and financial lapses. This agitation was successful, with a probe being announced on August 16, 2018 and the VC being placed on suspension pending inquiry on 18 September 2018. The details of the egregious misdemeanours of the suspended VC that have formed the basis of agitation by the greater student and teacher communities and have been the cause of disruption of academic activities, are to be found in the news item links provided below.