Imphal, Oct 14: Educational institutions continue to be the target of militant organizations in Manipur. Despite several appeals by students and teachers to make education a 'free zone', the ultras continue to disturb the functioning of premier educational institutes in the state. Recently, they targeted Dhana Manjuri College of Science in Imphal, and tried to extort a huge sum of money.
People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), a banned militant outfit of Manipur threatened the staff of the educational institute and demanded 10 per cent of Rs. 55 lakhs, meant for the infrastructural development of the institute.
The threat by militants has left the students in a dilemma, and they are worried about their future as militants continue to make life difficult for them.
The teachers of the Dhana Manjuri College of Science came out openly against the huge monetary demand made by the militants.
"Manipur will not be a good place to stay if militant activities continue. We do not want to live like this. What is happening is really hindering our development," said Gyanilakshmi, a student of D.M. College of Science.
"If such demands continue in schools and colleges, we will not be able to attend classes and study. It will hamper our studies and will not be good for our future," said L. Philips Singh, another student of the college.
The unrelenting pressure by the militants has led to the closure of the institution for an indefinite time. There is also a sense of fear and uncertainty about the future if the college cannot pay the money demanded.
"We don't have peace of mind which is required for pursuing academics. Our earnest appeal to all organization whether big or small, is not to put us into difficulty and help us in maintaining normal academic atmosphere within the campus," said G. Tomba Sharma, the Principal of D.M. College of Science, Manipur.
Dhana Manjuri College of Science with 110 teachers and 1500 students is one of the oldest and most prestigious colleges of Imphal and was established in 1946.
Manipur has resources as well as talented people who are eager to march on the path of development in step with rest of the country. But militancy is proving to be a major obstacle for the people of Manipur.
And ironically, these militants claim that they are fighting in the interest of the local people.