Student bodies denounce ‘muzzling’ college teachers

The Sangai Ex.: Five student bodies today strongly denounced the Government’s directive that restricts Government college teachers from writing or expressing their views on Government policies/programmes in media.

Five student bodies namely; Apunba Iribakki Maheiroi Sinpanglup (AIMS), All Manipur Students’ Union (AMSU), Democratic Students’ Alliance of Manipur (DESAM), Kangleipak Students’ Association (KSA) and Students Union of Kangleipak (SUK) in a joint statement said that the directive given by the Government through its office memorandum issued on August 10 is quite absurd and deserved condemnation in the strongest terms.

The student bodies demanded revocation of the order at the earliest.
Restrictions imposed upon academicians on expressing their opinions on Government policies/programmes violate their rights enshrined in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India which guarantees all citizens the right to freedom of speech and expression, the student bodies said.

The CCS (Conduct) rule 1964 is a ‘draconian law’ that also violates the professional freedom given by UGC while conducting research work if this applies to colleges and universities, they said.

Colleges under Delhi University as well as Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) while terming it anti-academic, did not follow this rule. However enforcing this rule in Manipur is very unfortunate, they said.

“If the teachers are prohibited from sharing ideas and perspectives on different social, political, cultural and economic issues in the State through the mass media, then who will comment on the contemporary issues?,” the student bodies questioned.

“Not allowing the academicians to share their knowledge to the people is an act that will lead the society into darkness.”

Citing the third point of the memo which states that “….due approval from the competent authority should be taken before publishing or making a statement…”, the student bodies said they consider this move as ‘bureaucratic red tapism’ to suppress the teachers.

The National Education Policy 2020 as well as the Prime Minister talked of developing critical thinking but the memorandum issued by the State Government is the total opposite, they said.

Democracy would not be able to thrive without critical thinking. Teachers who are subject experts giving their opinion on multiple issues help people understand the issues, the student bodies said and questioned whether the bureaucrats and the Ministers can become subject experts in every field.

“In order to make the society a better place, let us save the academic freedom. The memorandum which muzzles teachers from expressing their opinions should be revoked at once,” they added.

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