The incident stemmed from disagreements related to bill payments for the construction of roads leading to the new engineering campus, said NSF.
By Imna Longchar, TFM Nagaland Correspondent
Naga Student’s Federation (NSF) on Thursday has strongly condemned the recent incident wherein the Pro-Vice Chancellor (PVC), Nagaland University’s Meriema Campus, Kohima, was harassed and threatened by a group of individuals purportedly from Meriema village.
The NSF through a condemnation letter issued jointly by its president, Medovi Rhi, and general secretary, Chumben Khuvung, stated that the incident that occurred on October 16 has “jeopardized” the safety and well-being of a respected academic leader raising questions about the inclusivity within the university’s community.
Mentioning that the very incident stemmed from the very disagreements related to bill payments for the construction of roads leading to the new engineering campus, the NSF also pointed that it was crucial to note that there are established procedures for releasing bills including the involvement of a construction monitoring committee to certify work completion before “payment approval”.
Despite the sensitivity of the issue and the need for immediate intervention of the vice-chancellor, the NSF said it was dismayed at the lackadaisical attitude of the VC at Nagaland University headquarters in Lumami, the response for which has been inadequate, leaving the campus community feeling unheard.
NSF also questioned the timing of the fact-finding committee’s visit from Lumami, which only took place after the Pro-Vice Chancellor was threatened. Which it termed it was crucial that matters of discrimination and harassment are addressed promptly and effectively.
In this regard, the Naga Students’ Federation (NSF) has urged the Vice-Chancellor, Nagaland University, to assume his responsibility as the head of the institution and engage in dialogue with the campus community.
“We have confidence that the fact-finding committee will work towards an amicable solution within the stipulated period”, said NSF while also adding that the federation recognize the complexity of land ownership issues and further called upon the state government to play a pivotal role in settling these disputes as per the MoU so that such issues does not surface in the near future.
The NSF emphasizes that this incident should not lead to division between the university and the local community and encouraged for peaceful coexistence and collaboration for the betterment of education and development in the region.
It further demanded for accountability, justice, and a swift resolution to the issues faced by Nagaland University’s Meriema Campus.
It may be mentioned that the Nagaland University, Kohima Campus students, researchers, faculties and non-teaching staff jointly staged a protest at the Campus on October 18 to express resentment over the “threat” meted out on the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the said campus, Prof GT Thong, some contractors who were unhappy over non release of their pending bills.
October 18’s protest was jointly organized by Nagaland University Students’ Union (NUSU), Kohima, Nagaland University Non-Teaching Staff Association, Kohima, (NUNTSA-K), Nagaland University Teacher’s Association (NUTA), and Nagaland University Research Scholar’s Forum (NURSF).
It was also learnt that following the announcement that the NU Kohima Campus was staging a protest, other three campuses-Lumami, Dimapur, and Medziphema, also held silent protests at their respective campus showing their solidarity.