Chomsky, Spivak and 282 Others Send Petition to President on Manipur University Arrests

The petition calls for the “immediate and unconditional release” of the six teachers and seven students arrested on September 21. 

New Delhi: Around 284 academic and civil society members, including Noam Chomsky and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, have sent a petition to President Ram Nath Kovind requesting his intervention in the recent arrests of teachers and students of the Manipur University. The petition calls for the “immediate and unconditional release” of the six teachers and seven students arrested on September 21.

Manipur University has witnessed unrest for the past three months as students and teachers had been demanding the removal of Vice-Chancellor A.P. Pandey over financial and administrative irregularities. An inquiry committee was set up and the VC was suspended on September 17. K. Yugindro Singh took charge after the suspension of Pandey, students and teachers attempted to hold a dialogue with him against this move since it violated the accord made between MHRD, Manipur Government and the Manipur University Community. The arrests were made after Yugindro Singh filed a complaint against the students and teachers on charges of attempt to murder and kidnapping.

Read the full text of the petition below.


We, the undersigned academics and members of civil society, unequivocally condemn the arbitrary arrest and incarceration of six teachers and nine students of Manipur University. Six teachers and seven students have been sent to judicial custody for fifteen days, and the remaining two students for five days.

The arrests have been made under sections of the Indian Penal Code that invoke ‘an attempt to murder’, ‘wrongful confinement’, ‘extortion’, ‘kidnapping’ and ‘criminal conspiracy’ on the basis of a complaint made by Manipur University faculty, K. Yugindro Singh (and the suspended registrar M. Shyamkesho) on charges of attempt to murder and kidnapping. The six arrested professors — Dr. N. Santomba, (Dept. of. Manipuri), Prof. Chungkham Yashawanta (Dept. of Linguistics, also Dean of Humanities, and in-charge Dean of Students Welfare), Prof. Sougaijam Dorendrajit (Dept. of. Physics and Registrar-in-charge), Dr. L. Bishwanath Sharma (Dept. of. Philosophy), Prof. L. Sanjukumar (Dept. of. Biotechnology and Secretary MUTA), and Dr. Yengkhom Raghumani (Dept. of. Earth Sciences) have also been suspended with immediate effect. Following these arrests, the Manipur University campus has been turned into a cantonment, the boys hostel has had tear gas shells and mock bombs rained down upon it all of Thursday night (20 September), Internet services shut down, and all normal academic life has come to a complete halt.

Manipur University has witnessed a peaceful (in the face of great police brutality) 85 day long united agitation by its teachers, students, and staff asking for the removal of the Vice-Chancellor A P Pandey, and the constitution of an Independent Enquiry Committee to look into the allegations of his administrative and financial lapses. This agitation was successful, with a probe being announced on August 16, 2018 and the VC being placed on suspension pending inquiry on 18 September 2018. The details of the egregious misdemeanours of the suspended VC that have formed the basis of agitation by the greater student and teacher communities and have been the cause of disruption of academic activities, are to be found in the news item links provided below.

With the agitation called off, Manipur University was in the process of conducting long-delayed semester examinations. K. Yugindro Singh’s attempt to assume charge as pro-VC on the strength of a suspended VC’s 10 order is unquestionably superseded by the Sept. 18 accord between MHRD, Manipur Government, and the Manipur University community. Since August 3, Prof. Viswanath Singh has served as VC in-charge, so designated by the MHRD itself on August 2.

It was in this context that the members of the MU community engaged with K. Yugindro (and M. Shyamkesho) to dissuade him from plunging the university into a crisis. That there was no attempt to kidnap or murder is clearly evidenced by the fact that the two faculty were unharmed after the meeting, and at full liberty to make the complaint personally. If anything, the conspiracy seems to be on the other side, as latest reports are that K. Yugindro Singh has assumed charge as acting VC of Manipur University (a ceremony that was attended by not even one faculty member) on the instructions purportedly issued by MHRD on Sept. 19. This gives truth to the charge being made in Manipur University that the police action and arrests of the professors and students enjoys political patronage by both the state and central BJP-RSS governments. The aim of this ‘invasion’ was to create conditions that will simultaneously derail or tamper with the probe against AP Pandey, wreak retribution on the Manipur University community and particularly MUSU for their successful agitation, and serve as a chilling warning to all universities whose constituents dare to challenge corruption, arbitrary and unethical conduct by BJP-RSS appointees as heads of their institutions.

Our appeal is to the Visitor of Manipur University, the President of India. We demand the immediate and unconditional release of all teachers and students of Manipur University arrested on 21 September and after, and a withdrawal of all charges and suspension orders. We also demand a removal of Yugindro Singh as VC in charge and a restoration of Prof. Viswanath Singh as VC in-charge, and Prof. Sougaijam Dorendrajit as registrar in-charge, and a strict adherence to all terms of the Memorandum of Agreement henceforth. Our reasons for these demands are best put in the words that the Visitor himself used in his order suspending AP Pandey: “in the interest of justice for free and fair enquiry.”


  1. Noam Chomsky, Professor, U. of Arizona, MIT emeritus
  2. G.C. Spivak, Columbia University
  3. Mahatma Gandhi Central University Teachers Association, Mahatma Gandhi Central University
  4. Aaditya Kulkarni, research scholar
  5. Abha Dev Habib, Assistant Professor, Miranda House, University of Delhi
  6. Abhijit Roy, Professor, Department of Film Studies, Jadavpur University
  7. Abir Dasgupta, independent journalist
  8. Adhiraj Nayar, student, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  9. Aditya Nigam, Professor, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, New Delhi
  10. Afrin Firdaus Idris, PhD student, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  11. Aheibam Preetibala, Researcher, Anthropological Survey of India
  12. Aishwarya, student, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  13. Ajit, student
  14. Alfina, student, University of Delhi
  15. Aman Kumar, student
  16. Ameet Parameswaran, Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  17. Amit R. Baishya, Assistant Professor, University of Oklahoma
  18. Amitrajeet Mukherjee, student
  19. Ananya, student
  20. Andesha, University of Delhi,
  21. Andrew Simpson, Professor, University of Southern California
  22. Ania Loomba, Professor, University of Pennsylvania
  23. Anirban Baishya, University of Southern California,
  24. Anita, Professor, Ambedkar University, Delhi
  25. Anja, student
  26. Anshikha Adhikari, PhD student, Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur
  27. Anu Pandey, PhD student
  28. Anumitra, Chef
  29. Anupama Potluri, Assistant Professor, University of Hyderabad
  30. Anurag, Manager, Colliers International
  31. Anvita Abbi, Professor (retired) JNU, Simon Fraser University (Adjunct)
  32. Ayesha Kidwai, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  33. Archana Prasad, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  34. Arindam Bose, Associate Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  35. Atanu Saha, Assistant professor, Jadavpur University
  36. Atreyee Sharma, Assistant Professor, English and Foreign Languages University
  37. Atul Sood, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  38. Avalokita, Filmmaker
  39. Avinash Kumar, Faculty, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  40. Awadesh Kumar Mishra, Professor, English and Foreign Languages University
  41. Ayesha Kidwai, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  42. B.S. Saraswat, Professor of Chemistry, IGNOU (Retired)
  43. Barnali Oinam, PhD student, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  44. Benubala Nameirakpam, research scholar, University of Delhi
  45. Bhaba Sarma, Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati
  46. Bhanu Priya, research scholar, Ambedkar University Delhi
  47. Bhavna Joshi, PhD student
  48. Bibinaz Thokchom, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University Delhi
  49. Bidisha Bhattacharjee, Faculty member, Visva Bharati
  50. Bidya, student, University of Delhi
  51. C.P. Chandrasekhar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  52. Chandni Mehta, PhD student, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  53. Chandrasekhar, Director, Market research
  54. Chandrika Baruah, student
  55. Chetan Anand, research scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  56. Chinchu C., research consultant
  57. Chirashree Das Gupta, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  58. Chirom Meiraba Meitei, student, INSPIRE Fellow at Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata (IISER K)
  59. Dahrii Vemai, former General Secretary North East Students Society Delhi University, Students of Delhi University
  60. Darren, NUS/Student
  61. Debaditya Bhattacharya, Assistant Professor, Kazi Nazrul University
  62. Debarshi Das, Associate Professor
  63. Debashis Ghoshal, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  64. Debjani Sengupta, Associate Professor, IP College, University of Delhi
  65. Deepa, Product Manager
  66. Deepak Kumar, University of Delhi
  67. Denys Leighton, Professor, Ambedkar University Delhi
  68. Dhiraj Kumar Nite, Social scientist, Ambedkar University Delhi
  69. Diana Ashem, Guest Faculty, Whistling Woods International Institute
  70. Doyeeta Majumder, Assistant Professor, Jadavpur University
  71. Dr Rina Ramdev, Associate Professor, University of Delhi
  72. Dr Avinash Pandey, Assistant Professor, University of Mumbai
  73. Dr Mostaid Ahmed, Assistant Professor, The Neotia University
  74. Dr Romanbabu Oinam, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Tirupati
  75. Dr Sk Sarif Hassan, Assistant Professor, Pingla College
  76. Dr Surinder PK Randhawa, consultant, Sign language, independent researcher
  77. Dr Chilka, Associate Professor, Basanti Devi College
  78. Dr Mohan Rao, Professor (retired), Jawaharlal Nehru University
  79. Dripta Piplai, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur
  80. Dulali Nag, Associate Professor, IISWBM
  81. Eli Doye, Assistant Professor, Dera Natung Government College, Itanagar
  82. Ena Panda, Assistant Professor, University of Delhi
  83. Francis Hmar, research scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  84. Frans Manjali, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  85. G. Arunima, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  86. Ganpat, Jamia Millia Islamia
  87. Gautam Gupta, Professor, Jadavpur University
  88. Gayatri Das, PhD student, Tezpur University
  89. Geetha Venkataraman, Professor, Ambedkar University Delhi
  90. Githa Hariharan, Writer
  91. Gopalji Pradhan, Professor, Ambedkar University, Delhi
  92. Gracious M Temsen, Associate Professor, University of Hyderabad
  93. Gunabanta Thangjam, research scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  94. Gyan, Reader, HRI
  95. Hamidul Haque, Assistant Professor, Teaching
  96. Harshita Singh, Banker
  97. Hidam Gaurashyam Singh, teacher,
  98. Hima S, Research associate, Sikkim University
  99. Himanshu, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  100. Indira Ghose, Professor, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
  101. Indrani Roy, Consultant
  102. Indranil Bhattacherjee, Social activist.
  103. Indranil Dutta, Faculty, English and Foreign Languages University
  104. Ipsith Ganesh, student, University of Delhi
  105. Ishani Guha, Linguist
  106. Janani Kandhadai, researcher,
  107. Jayati Ghosh, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  108. Jon Solomon, Professor, University of Lyon
  109. Jyoti Sharma, research scholar, University of Delhi
  110. K. Satyanarayana, Professor, English and Foreign Languages University
  111. Kailadbou Daimai, Assistant Professor (guest), Assam University
  112. Kakho Thaoli, student, University of Delhi
  113. Kapildeo kumar Paswan, Assistant professor (adhoc), University of Delhi
  114. Karmveer, Assistant Professor, English and Foreign Languages University
  115. Karthick, PhD student, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  116. Kaustubh Ghoshal, student, University of Delhi
  117. Kavita Krishnan, Secretary, AIPWA
  118. Kavita Panjabi, Professor, Jadavpur University, Kolkata
  119. Kethosinuo Tepa, student, University of Delhi
  120. Khairunnisa Nakathorige, Maulana Azad National Urdu University
  121. Kishorchand, Academic Associate,
  122. Komal, student
  123. Laikhuram Premjit, research scholar, Tezpur University
  124. Laimayum Shielamanee, Associate Editor in a publishing house
  125. Lakashya, Scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  126. Lama Mando, English & Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad
  127. Lata Singh, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  128. M. Inaoba Singh, Systems Engineer Trainee, Infosys Ltd
  129. Madhu Sahni, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  130. Madhumanti Datta, student, University of Southern California
  131. Mahima, Business
  132. Mamatha Karollil, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University Delhi
  133. Manidipa Sen, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  134. Manihar Singh Shougaijam, citizen
  135. Maroona Murmu, Associate Professor, Jadavpur University
  136. Mary E. John, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women’s Development Studies
  137. Michael W Morgan, retired professor, linguistics
  138. Mina Dan, Professor, Dept of Linguistics, University of Calcutta
  139. Minati Panda, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  140. Miraj Shah Kori, research scholar,
  141. Modhu, research scholar, Institute for Plasma Research
  142. Moggallan Bharti, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University Delhi
  143. Mohammad Imtiyaj Khan, Assistant Professor, Gauhati University
  144. Mohan Rao, Professor (retired) JNU, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  145. Moirangthem Ajoy, Graduate student
  146. Momocha Lousambam, student, MSU Baroda
  147. Monica Nanjundaswamy, artist,
  148. Moushumi Basu, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  149. N. Sai Balaji, JNUSU President, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  150. Nalini Taneja, Associate Professor (retd), University of Delhi
  151. Naorem Arun Singh, research scholar, Gauhati University
  152. Napoleon Okram, citizen
  153. Naren Singh Rao, independent researcher, Independent Researcher
  154. Narender Thakur, Assistant Professor, University of Delhi
  155. Navaneetha M., Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  156. Naveen Gaur, Associate Professor, University of Delhi
  157. Neha Kulshreshtha, Linguist
  158. Nikita Sud, University of Oxford,
  159. Nilanjana Gupta, Professor, Jadavpur University
  160. Ningombam Sanatombi devi, research scholar, Manipur University
  161. Niranjana Thokchom, research scholar, student
  162. Nishaant Choksi, Assistant Professor, Gandhinagar
  163. Nivedita Menon, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  164. Nivedita Verma, MPhil student, University of Delhi
  165. Nupur Asher, research scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  166. Oinam Nganthoibi, Linguist
  167. Olga, student,
  168. P. Madhavan, Professor, English and Foreign Languages University
  169. Padmabati Achom, PhD student, University of Delhi
  170. Panchali Ray, Assistant Professor, Jadavpur University
  171. Papori Bora, Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  172. Parnisha Sarkar, PhD student, University of Toronto
  173. Paroma, research scholar, Jamia Millia Islamia
  174. Paroma Sanyal, Faculty, Academic, Delhi
  175. Partha Ray, Associate Professor, University Teacher
  176. Paula Chakravartty, Associate Professor, New York University
  177. Piyush Swain, research scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  178. Pradip Datta, professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  179. Pradipta Bandyopadhyay, Professor,
  180. Prateek, Financial analyst
  181. Praveen Singh, research scholar,
  182. Prem Taba, Former General Secretary RGUSU, Arunachal Pradesh, research Scholar
  183. Priyakhi Khanikar, student
  184. Priyanka Sharma, research scholar, Jadavpur University
  185. Probal Dasgupta, Professor, Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata
  186. Vaishna Narang, Professor (retired) JNU, PhD student
  187. R. Ramanujam, Professor, Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
  188. R. Shah, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  189. Vijay, Professor, University of Hyderabad
  190. Rahul Roy, Professor, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi
  191. Rajamathangi, PhD student, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  192. Rajat Datta, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  193. Rajesh Upadhyay, social worker,
  194. Rakhi Sehgal, Labour Activist
  195. Ramesh, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
  196. Rashmi Varma, Associate Professor, University of Warwick
  197. Raya Sarkar, Lawyer
  198. Reena Ashem, Researcher, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
  199. Reena Rai, MPhil student, Scholar
  200. Richa Bhutani, PhD student, Tata Institute of Social Sciences
  201. Riko Mihu, Assistant Professor, Teaching
  202. Robert Naorem, College Student
  203. Rohit, student
  204. Rohit Azad, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  205. Rojibala Ningo, PhD student
  206. Ronaldo Laishram, student
  207. Roshan Kokane, Freelance Journalist, Student at Ashoka University
  208. Ruchira, research scholar, Global Institute of Sustainable Prosperity
  209. S. Arulmozi, Assistant Professor, University of Hyderabad
  210. Sabina Yasmin Rahman, student, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  211. Sachidanand Sinha, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  212. Sajni Mukherji, Professor (retired), Jadavpur University
  213. Salonee Shital, research scholar, student
  214. Samantak Das, Professor, Jadavpur University
  215. Samar Sinha, Assistant Professor, Sikkim University
  216. Samir Karmakar, Assistant Professor, Jadavpur University
  217. Sanabam Kennedy, student, Madras School of economics
  218. Sanchay, student, IISER Kolkata
  219. Sanjay Palshikar, Professor, University of Hyderabad
  220. Santosh Kumar, Assistant Professor, Christ (Deemed University)
  221. Saradindu Bhaduri, teacher,
  222. Sarasij Majumder, Associate Professor, Kennesaw State University, Atlanta
  223. Saravanan V, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  224. Satish Chand Abbi, Professor (retired), IIT, Delhi
  225. Saumya, student, University of Delhi
  226. Sayan, PhD student, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  227. Sayandeb Chowdhury, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University Delhi
  228. Selvyn Jussy, Associate Professor, University of Calcutta
  229. Shahana Bhattacharya, Associate Professor, Delhi University
  230. Shakuntala Mahanta, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati
  231. Shamila Sreekiumar, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
  232. Shanta Laishram, Associate Professor, Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi
  233. Sharmila, Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay
  234. Sharmishthaa, Assistant Professor, University of Delhi
  235. Shaswati Mazumdar, Professor, University of Delhi
  236. Shilpaa Anand, Maulana Azad National Urdu University
  237. Shinu Varkey, Assistant Professor, St Berchmans College, Kerala Shiti Malhotra, Assistant Professor, Linguistics
  238. Shivam S, Playwright, Communications Manager
  239. Shivarama Padikkal, Professor, University of Hyderabad
  240. Shrijana Chhetri, student, University of Delhi
  241. Shrishti, Media
  242. Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Artist
  243. Simona Sawhney, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi
  244. Somak Mukherjee, PhD student, University of California, Santa Barbara
  245. Sowmya Dechamma, University of Hyderabad,
  246. Sreekar Raghotham, Rutgers University,
  247. Srivatsan Manivannan, research scholar, OP Jindal Global University
  248. Stuart Russell, Professor (retired), Macquarie University
  249. Subhadeep Chowdhury, student, MPhil Research Scholar
  250. Subhankar Chakraborty, Researcher, Bangalore,
  251. Subhradip Ghosh, teacher,
  252. Sudeshna Dutta, PhD student, Jadavpur University
  253. Sudhanshi, Director, Tour operator
  254. Sukanta Chaudhuri, Jadavpur University
  255. Sulagna Mukhopadhyay, Lecturer, Guest faculty
  256. Sumir Karmakar, Principal Correspondent, Northeast, Deccan Herald
  257. Sunil Neelakantan, student, NALSAR University of Law
  258. Supriya Chaudhuri, Professor Emerita, Jadavpur University
  259. Surajit C Mukhopadhyay, Registrar, AUC Raipur
  260. Surjodeb Basu, Young India Fellow,
  261. Suvir Jaul, Professor, Univ of Pennsylvania
  262. Suyashi, research scholar,
  263. Svati Joshi, University of Delhi,
  264. Swati Moitra, University of Calcutta.
  265. T. Temsunungsang, Assistant Professor, English and Foreign Languages University, Shillong
  266. T Bhattacharya, Associate Professor, University of Delhi
  267. Tanima, PhD student, University of Chicago
  268. Tanya Sana Rajkumari, Law
  269. Tapsi Mathur, Postdoctoral Fellow, New York University Shanghai
  270. Tarun Bhartiya, TUR
  271. Tor A Åfarli, Professor, Norwegian University of Science and Technology NTNU
  272. Trishita, student
  273. Udaya Kumar, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  274. Urmimala Sarkar Munsi, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  275. Utpal Chattopadhyay, Senior Professor, IACS, Kolkata
  276. V.S. Sunder, Professor, Mathematician and Retd Prof (IMSc)
  277. Vageshwari, research scholar, Jamia Millia Islamia
  278. Vareni Awasthi, student, Graduate
  279. Veena Naregal, Associate Professor, Institute of Economic Growth
  280. Venusa Tinyi, University of Hyderabad,
  281. Vikas Rawal, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
  282. Vikram Nongmaithem, teacher, Higher Secondary Education Manipur
  283. Wichamdinbo Mataina, Assistant Professor, Sikkim University
  284. Yogesh, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University, Delhi