MANIPUR KUKI-ZO MLAS SEEK SHAH'S INTERVENTION TO REINSTATE SUSPENDED EDUCATION OFFICERS
Imphal: In an interesting twist in the recent suspension of three education officers by the Manipur state government for fraudulent actions related to obtaining Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliation for 26 schools. 10 Kuki-Zomi-Hmar MLAs from the violence-affected state have written to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, urging him to reinstate the suspended officers.
On January 12, the government suspended Zonal Education Officer (ZEO) Churachandpur, Jangkhohao Haokip, Lhingtinneng, ZEO Kangpokpi, and L Taithui, Deputy Inspector of Schools in the Samulamlan block of Churachandpur ZEO.
The trio's suspension followed the constitution of a panel on December 22 by the state government to investigate the fraudulent issuance of the No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the CBSE. Headed by Manipur School Education Department's Director L Nandakumar Singh, the panel submitted its report on January 5 as mandated.
The suspension occurred amid the state government's efforts to admit students displaced by the ongoing ethnic conflict to educational institutions in their respective safety areas.
According to officials, the last NOC issued by the state government was in May 2020, and the CBSE subsequently revoked its affiliation from 26 schools in Kuki-Zomi-dominated Churachandpur and Kangpoki districts after detecting the unauthorized issuance of the NOC.
In a memorandum submitted to Shah, the 10 MLAs explained that the officers issued the NOC to obtain CBSE affiliation in the aftermath of ethnic violence in Manipur. They claimed instances of gross negligence and injustice under the Board of Secondary Education Manipur, prompting their proactive actions. The CBSE granted affiliation, but the 26 schools were de-affiliated a few days later in December 2023.
The MLAs argued that the suspended officers were acting in the best interests of affected schools and students who couldn't pursue studies for over eight months. They highlighted cases of discrimination and injustice against deserving students, citing the tampering of marks at Rayburn College, Churachandpur, by Manipur University.
The memo urged Shah to direct the state government to revoke the suspension orders against the three officers and take steps to restore CBSE affiliations for the 26 schools, considering the students' sufferings and the interest of seamless quality education for future generations.
The pursuance to reinstate the erring educational officers by the 10 Kuki-Zo legislators is a unique occurrence for the lawmakers to publicly support officers suspended for violating government regulations to secure CBSE affiliation. Notably, these actions were allegedly carried out at the behest of the same 10 MLAs who are central to the demand for the administrative division of Manipur on ethnic lines, particularly of Kuki-Zo-dominated areas of the state.
So far, the Manipur ethnic strife that began on May 3 2023 has claimed over 190 lives, displaced over 60,000 people, including 15,915 students, from their villages and homes, and hundreds of houses, shops, and properties destroyed.