Imphal, Aug. 26: Naga students today took out rallies in Manipur’s Ukhrul and Senapati districts to press for adoption of the Nagaland School Education Board syllabus in private schools in four Naga-dominated districts of the state.
The rally, organised by the Private Schools Forum, came after Union human resource development minister Arjun Singh “assured” a ministerial delegation from Manipur earlier this month that the Centre would not intervene in the school syllabus controversy.
The All Naga Students Association of Manipur (Ansam) and the Naga Students Federation (NSF) of Nagaland have been campaigning for the affiliation of more than 160 private schools in Ukhrul, Senapati, Chandel and Tamenglong to the Nagaland board.
Nearly a thousand students gathered at the Public Ground in the district headquarters of Senapati for the rally. In Ukhrul, the students assembled at the Tangkhulong ground, official sources said.
Addressing the gathering at Senapati, Ansam president Paul Langhu asked the students not to be discouraged by “false information” that their demand had been rejected by the Centre.
The Private Schools Forum also sent a memorandum, signed by its president N. Heny and leaders of all its four units, to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking a “positive response” to the demand.
The memorandum alleged that minority communities in Manipur were facing the threat of “ethnic cleansing” through imposition of Meitei language by the state government. Activists pushing for the Meitei Mayek script, omission of tribal history and culture and “distortion and tampering” of history in school textbooks were also cited as reasons for demanding affiliation to the Naga board.
The forum also urged the Prime Minister to “save” Naga students, who have adopted the Nagaland syllabus, from “punishments” that could be meted out by the Manipur government. The Tamenglong and Chandel units of the forum plan to hold rallies.
The All Manipur Students Union said it would lodge a complaint with the North East Students Organisation if the NSF continued to support the Ansam in its effort to effect a change in the syllabus.
Both the Amsu and the NSF are constituent members of the Neso.