IMPHAL, September 15: The issue of scuffle between students at the hostel mess on September 11 evening in the NIT campus had flared up from a minor incident that took place. But now the situation is under control and it is now returning back to normalcy.
This was stated by the chairman, Board of Governors for NIT, who is also an honorary professor at Indian Space Research Organisation, Department of Space.
Speaking to the IFP, Prof Rajan recalled how the incident had taken place. He said on September 11 evening, students who are staying in the NIT hostel campus at Langol, were queuing up for dinner as usual, suddenly some first year non-Manipuri students jumped the queue.
Prof Rajan continued, as a result a minor scuffle broke out between the students. He said a compromise was brought between the students who were involved in the scuffle, and the matter was put to rest the same evening.
The following day on September 12, some non-Manipuri students numbering around six, went to have evening snacks at Langol area as there is no canteen facility in the campus, narrated Prof Rajan. Further he said the students were attacked with sticks by some unknown persons who came on motorcycles.
Thereafter, the students ran back to the campus and started attacking Manipuri hostellers, and then an ugly brawl took place among the students, he added. Hostel authorities than called the police to control the situation; soon the police came and prevailed on the students.
Prof Rajan maintained that the students, after being attacked by strangers while having snacks outside the campus, must have misconstrued that those strangers were instigated by Manipuri hostellers following the September 11 mess incident. And also the current issue of ILP must have an impact on the minds of the non-Manipuri students, he added.
On being asked what prompted a whole delegation of the State Chief Minister, chief secretary, the DGP and other officials to visit the campus on September 13. Prof Rajan said, “I am told that the non-Manipuri students, after the incident of fracas on September 12 had informed their families and friends through mobile phones and social networking sites regarding the incidents. The families outside the State got alarmed and had approached their local MLAs and top bureaucrats, and obviously there were pressures on the State government of Manipur”.
IFP enquired Prof Rajan if his visit to the State was because of the incident, he denied and said, “I have come to attend the Board of Governors meeting which had been scheduled earlier, my presence in the meeting is required being the chairman of the board”.
Prof Rajan has appealed to the media not to misinterpret or magnify the issue as it could have serious repercussions.
During the interaction, IFP enquired about the concrete actions that have been taken up in the campus after the incident, to Dr S Birendra Singh, director of NIT Manipur. He said that a platoon of CRPF has been deployed in the campus to prevent any untoward incident.
Question was posed if the presence of security personnel in the campus, on the contrary, would disturb the mental equilibrium of the students. Prof Rajan volunteered to answer the question by himself and said the concern raised is valid, but the deployment of paramilitary personnel in the campus is a confidence building measure; and it is a temporary arrangement.
Taking the opportunity, IFP besides the issue of students fracas, asked the chairman on why the construction of physical infrastructure has been delayed in the NIT campus after acquiring land at Langol. Prof Rajan clarified that the delay has been caused because of the procedural requirements, “after all, this is a central government institute, and there is lengthy process of formalities to be fulfilled. Anyway, the CPWD is our main agent. They have already given public tender notice. Hopefully, construction work will begin by January next year”, he said.
Meanwhile, the principal secretary of Home, Govt of Manipur regarding the NIT incident has appealed to students and their parents not to panic, according to a release. It said the situation in the campus has returned to normalcy, as the govt has taken all measures required for the safety of the students.
It may be mentioned that out of 174 total students in the campus, 95 of them are from different parts of the country. Even with the situation limping back to normalcy, this reporter saw heavy presence of State Police personnel, besides the CRPF personnel inside the campus.