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General strike paralyzes Manipur

IMPHAL: Normal life remained paralysed in Manipur particularly in Imphal on Wednesday, the first day of the 48-hour general strike imposed by Manipur University Students’ Union (MUSU) and supported by various student bodies and civil society organizations.

The general strike, commenced last midnight, was imposed by MUSU demanding for removal of Manipur University vice-chancellor Prof AP Pandey and strongly protesting “brutal force used against the democratically agitating students. All business and commercial concerns, market places, shopping centres, private undertaking offices and educational institutions remained closed. Government offices functioned with thin attendances.

Public transport completely stayed off the road. Long distance passenger service vehicles (including inter-district) cancelled their services for the day. No inter-district service vehicle from other districts including hills arrived in Imphal. 

Similar situations were reported from other parts of valley districts. However, reports alleged that the strike has little impact in the hill districts except non-arrival of commercial vehicles including passenger service from Imphal.

The strike by and large remained peaceful and no major untoward incident was reported.

The administration had taken strict security measures to avert any untoward incident by deploying armed and unarmed police personnel in the city and other sensitive areas in the outskirts of the city including Manipur University campus. Police personnel were seen patrolling in many areas of the city, particularly in the periphery of Imphal Raj Bhavan, chief minister’s bungalow, state Assembly complex and other important places where prohibitory orders had been promulgated. 

Six student bodies, various civil society organizations, particularly local women based bodies and some political parties extended their support to the 48-hour general strike. 

Meanwhile, the striking university community (MUSU, MUTA (Manipur University Teachers’ Association) and MUSA (Manipur University Staff Association) have announced that they will go ahead with their ongoing agitation while rejecting the fact finding committee reconstituted by Union HRD ministry.

Union HRD ministry reconstituted the panel constituted to enquire in to the allegations leveled against Manipur University chancellor Prof Adya Prasad Pandey on Tuesday. 

The re-constituted fact-finding committee was headed by the former acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Meghalaya T Nandakumar Singh as chairperson while earlier team of the probe panel, joint secretary JK Tripathi of UGC and Surat Singh, of the HRD ministry remained as members.

MUSU president M Dayaman reiterated that they will not retreat from their firm demand. “Our demand is a non-negotiable collective stand of MUSU, MUTA and MUSA. Constitution of a probe panel is not our choice,” he said.

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