A fresh controversy erupted at Imphal-based Manipur University as a guest faculty lecturer has reached out to the Prime Minister’s Office regarding alleged arbitrary removal of his services by the administrator of the university.

In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ningombam Bupenda Meitei said that he was ‘disgracefully and arbitrarily removed’ from being a guest faculty, hardly before two months of the six months tenure, as offered by Manipur University, which is a central university.

The nature of engagement with the university was not non-academic, therefore, he could not be considered as a part of non-teaching staff of the university. He was neither a teaching nor a non-teaching employee of the university as per the agreement and the rules. Other rules were also not binding on him as he was just a guest lecturer, Meitei said.

Meitei, who is affiliated to the Congress party, was asked to clarify his involvement with any political party even though it was irrelevant, he wrote in the letter addressed to the prime minister.

Meitei said he respects the philosophy and ideology towards the nation and the people and expect the PM to have the same honour for his philosophy and his ideology. He urged the PM to see if his removal was justified or not. He also urged to conduct an enquiry so that such action is not repeated in future in any of the universities in the country.

The Federation of Central University Teachers Associations (FEDCUTA) had also condemned the termination of the services of Ningombam Bupenda Meitei.

Manipur University – The News Mill

President of the association, Rajib Ray and Secretary Atul Sood stated that Bupenda was appointed in the Philosophy Department for a period of six months but his services were terminated after only two months. It was stated that such actions spring out of attempts to impose CCS rules in universities which are contrary to building a free and fair academic atmosphere in a university. They said that in the past full time teachers in the universities have exercised this freedom and even contested elections on the tickets of various political parties.

The FEDCUTA believed that the termination of Bupenda, who belongs to a different political party and ideology, comes out of an authoritarian imposition of the ideology of the ruling BJP government in the state on the Manipur University.

According to an order issued by Manipur University Registrar W Chandbabu, Ningombam Bupenda Meitei had been appointed as Guest Faculty in the Department of Philosophy MU for a period of six months in June 2019 and Jarnail Singh, administrator in capacity of Vice-Chancellor terminated the service of Bupenda.

The Manipur University had been embroiled in a crisis following a stir demanding removal of VC AP Pandey for allegedly misusing money, failure to discharge duty and favouring the ABVP, the student wing of the BJP. After a prolonged stir the Manipur high court intervened and appointed Jarnail Singh, a retired bureaucrat, as administrator of MU.

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