48 hours bandh on, then what ? The MU mess continues

After the 48 hours bandh what ? This question is important in the face of the fact that the BJP led Government does not seem to be in the mood to free any of the arrested MU teachers and students. On the contrary just before the 48 hours bandh was to come into force from midnight of September 26, four more men were arrested, ostensibly in connection with the ongoing agitation at MU. That they were freed later is a different matter. Another important question that needs to be raised is whether the 48 hours bandh falls in line with the spirit of the petition submitted among others by eminent academicians Noam Chomsky and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak to President Ram Nath Kovind calling for the immediate release of the teachers and students. The answer must be obvious to all and as observed in an earlier commentary here, the stand off between the MU community and AP Pandey has today spiralled out of control and has morphed into a stand off between the State Government and the MU community. Central to the stand off is obviously the midnight raid at MU, the arrest of teachers and students and the 17 point agenda submitted to the then VC in charge Prof Vishwanath by the MU community. Chief Minister N Biren, in his address via All India Radio some time back, explained the necessity of the midnight raid in the face of the treatment meted out to Pro VC Prof Yugindro and Registrar in charge Shyamkesho inside the MU campus. The changing dynamics of the MU crisis is interesting as well as extremely disturbing and today everybody seems to have forgotten AP Pandey, the man central to the present issue and the focus has shifted to the BJP led Government at Imphal.
No one would have known that things will take such a turn in a couple of days. So while the BJP led Government at Imphal initially had the alibi to extricate itself from the MU mess on the ground that the varsity is a Central university, today it finds itself in the middle of all that is associated with MU. Law and order, it was under this that the State Government entered the scene in a bombastic manner, literally and figuratively speaking. The question is, has the course of action taken up by the State had the desired impact ? Has it managed to convince the agitating MU community to understand their side of the story and has the muscle flexing exercise worked ? So far there is nothing to suggest that anything positive has come out from the course of action taken up by the State Government. However it also stands that the State Government need to demonstrate that there is a Government in place and it cannot remain silent, especially when one takes into consideration of what actually happened when Pro VC Professor Yugindro and Registrar in charge Shyamkesho entered the university campus some days back. It is also distressing to note the different voices coming out from the MU mess. So while the 48 hours general strike called by different student organisations is on in full force in Imphal and the adjoining areas, tribal students washed their hands off the bandh call even going to the extent of asserting that the bandh will not be endorsed in the hill districts. Ironic it is but AP Pandey, the man sent by the Centre to patch up things when there was a stiff stand off over the reservation quota in admission at MU some time back seems to have succeeded in driving the different student organisations further apart.

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