| Manipur Institute of Technology students take part in the strike. File picture |
Imphal, Sept. 26: The students of Manipur Institute of Technology suspended their agitation last night after principal-in-charge Th. Kulachandra was removed from office and an inquiry ordered into the charges against him.
Classes were disrupted in the institute since September 15 after more than 400 students went on strike demanding removal of Kulachandra, accusing him of financial mismanagement and administrative irregularities.
The students fled their hostels and took shelter at a community hall in Yengkhom Leirak, about 1km from the institute in Imphal West, after a police crackdown on Sunday evening. The police baton charged the agitators and lobbed tear-gas shells — an action that evoked strong reactions from teachers and students alike.
The students returned to the hostels last night after spending three nights at the community hall on being shown the order removing Kulachandra from the post of principal in-charge.
The governing body of the institute, headed by Manipur University vice-chancellor H.N.K. Sharma, removed Kulachandra and appointed R.K. Hemkumar, dean of students welfare of Manipur University, as the new principal in-charge. Kulachandra will, however, remain a teacher in the institute.
A source in the university said the governing body also decided to institute a one-man inquiry committee to examine the charges of financial mismanagement against Kulachandra. The governing body has shortlisted three retired IAS officers to handle the probe and the process is on to finalise one of the three.
The source said as all students had returned to the hostels, the office would be reopened tomorrow. It had remained closed since the students fled following the police crackdown.
Students said the new principal in-charge came to the community hall last night and persuaded them to return to the hostels, promising to do whatever he could to improve the academic atmosphere at the institute.
“We have not totally called off the agitation. We will wait for the inquiry report. If it is not satisfactory, we will resume our agitation. For the time being, classes will resume from tomorrow,” final year student Chingangbam Chiranjiv said.
Hemkumar also held a meeting with the students today. He promised to look into their grievances and improve the institute’s infrastructure. After listening to the students’ demands, he assured them that he would make the administration transparent.
The source said there was a plan to shift the institute next year to the university complex at Canshipur in Imphal West, about 15km from its current location.