Imphal, Oct 2, The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has called for quick and stringent action by the Government of India as well as the State Government of Manipur against the police personnel who have used brutal force against the students. The AHRC also wrote a separate letter to the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. The AHRC initiated the action after receiving information from Human Rights Alert, Manipur regarding the continued harassment and detention of the students of Manipur University. The AHRC details the series of events that took place in the matter of the present impasse. There has been no rest at Manipur University since the Ministry of Human Resource Development appointed its new Vice Chancellor in October 2016. After inquiry, he was suspended. In the meantime, he had appointed a Pro-Vice Chancellor which led to student protests against him. After three months of agitation, the semester examinations were being conducted at Manipur University. On 20 September 2018, a small group of students on campus gathered to discuss the Pro-Vice Chancellor’s bid to take over as the Chancellor. However, the police dispersed the gathering, making the students flee. At around 12:15 after midnight of 21 September 2018, the students were shocked to see a large number of security force officials walking inside their hostels in search of the office bearers of the Manipur University Students’ Union. They even entered the girls’ hostel. This led to panic and chaos, as the security force destroyed hostel properties such as doors and windows. The students in the hostel resisted the entry of the forces into their hostels and it was later learnt that the Pro-Vice Chancellor provided permission for the same. The security force resorted to using tear gas shells, mock bombs and even live bullets. Some students were even subject to torture and degrading treatment. Panic stricken students soon gathered near the traffic island of Manipur University, where, yet again, another round of tear gas shells were used in order to disperse the crowd. This caused the students to run inside their hostel campus. Another round of searching was carried out at the Boys’ Hostel by the security forces at around 3:30 a.m. The police action continued until early in the morning, and in the meantime, the students were not allowed to buy medicine or seek medical attention for the injuries that they had sustained during the scuffle. Ambulances were only allowed inside the campus after 2 p.m. A 48-hour bandh was also called by the All Manipur Student Union (AMSU), Manipuri Student Federation (MSF), Kangleipak Student Association (KSA), SUK, DESAM, along with the support of other organisations. The Manipur Teachers’ Association (MUTA) has also stated that they will only sit down to resolve their month-long agitation after the teachers and students are unconditionally released
William Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since beginning. A avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue.