Imphal, Oct. 6: Less than a month after giving one of Manipur’s top bureaucrats a taste of vigilante justice, the banned Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) has added to the government’s embarrassment by taking the principal of a law college hostage.
The family of M. Kiranchand, principal of Imphal’s LMS Law College, today confirmed that the militant group abducted him on September 28. The abduction came to light only yesterday, when newspapers published an appeal by the principal’s wife, Nirmala Devi, for the release of her husband on humanitarian grounds.
However, the KYKL has yet to own up to the abduction.
Students, teachers and other employees of LMS Law College staged a demonstration this afternoon against Kiranchand’s abduction and sought his unconditional release.
Women’s organisations from the Khongman Zone 3 area of Imphal East and the state unit of the Students’ Federation of India made similar appeals.
Kiranchand’s family filed a complaint with Irilbung police station in Imphal East, but no senior official was available for comment.
Chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh had announced a few months ago that his government would not negotiate with militants for the release of any hostage. He said the police would launch search operations instead, irrespective of the consequences.
The abduction of Kiranchand is a blow to the government’s morale, coming close on the heels of revenue commissioner I.S. Laishram’s “trial” by the KYKL for alleged corruption during his stint in the education department.
The KYKL freed Laishram on September 7 after making him promise to take voluntary retirement from government service. The militant group claimed to have evidence that the senior IAS officer had taken Rs 30,000 from some college teachers by promising to upgrade their payscales to the UGC-recommended level.
The government placed Laishram under suspension on the basis of reports that he had given himself up to the outfit. The bureaucrat denied the charge.
Over the past couple of years, the KYKL has resorted to extreme measures on several occasions in a bid to make a success of its “Operation New Kangleipak”, launched with the objective of ending corruption in the education department and the use of unfair means by students during examinations.
The militant group is known to attack examination invigilators who turn a blind eye to cheating by students. The KYKL-enforced ban on the use of unfair means in examinations is believed to be one of the reasons why only 23 per cent of matriculation candidates cleared the examination this year. The pass percentage is the lowest ever.