Scholarship: Student groups demand action against officials
Dimapur, June 5 (EMN): Student organisations urge the authorities in Nagaland to investigate the officials in the education department who have been accused of misusing the students’ scholarship funds.
Likewise, they denounced the authorities for using force against college students led by the All Nagaland College Students’ Union (ANCSU) who were protesting alleged misappropriation of their scholarship, in Kohima earlier.
Various students’ organisations issued press releases to the media on Wednesday stating outrage and demanding action against the officers against whom corruption charges are being levelled.
The Diphupar Naga Students’ Union (DNSU) has denounced what it called ‘high-handedness’ and ‘irrational action’ of the “state machinery” against the agitating students fighting for their scholarship at the Kohima Secretariat. The union also denounced the arrest of the college leaders.
“Such irresponsible action of the state government will not only boost the morale of the corrupt officials to commit more offences but will undermine the voice of the people and discourage any such peaceful form of dissent, which is the essential element of democracy,” the DNSU stated.
“The DNSU firmly supports the demand of ANCSU and is of the view that the charter of demands put forth by the office of ANCSU is just, and a necessary step towards eliminating corruption that has been existing in our state especially with regard to the scholarship for students.”
The DNSU reminded that the scholarship was the rightful share of every eligible student and it is the duty of the government to ensure that the entitled amount reaches them timely. That way, the union stated, students can enable them pursue their academic courses.
“Therefore, the misappropriation of this fund by the government officials is a gross denial of their basic fundamental right enshrined in the constitution – Right to Education.
“The DNSU demands that the government come out clean with the full report on the misappropriation of funds meant for the students and take exemplary action against the erring officials which will also prove as an example for other departments in the state indulging in corrupt practices.”
The DNSU has assured that it will not hesitate to stand and fight for the rights of the students when their life and career is put at stake “in the hands of some selfish and corrupt officials.” The organisation declared that it will take “necessary course of action for which the blame will be borne solely by the Government should any untoward incident occur.”
The Nagaland unit of the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) Nagaland Unit also issued a press release demanding redress. The unit expressed full support to the issues taken up by the All Nagaland College Students’ Union for the welfare of the students’ community.
“The NSUI also strongly condemns the use of police force upon the students and the arrest of Students leaders who were staging peaceful protest against the misappropriation of scholarship funds,” the press release stated.
The NSUI has urged the state government to ‘look in to the rights’ of the students’ community and to ‘expedite the matter’ at the earliest.
Another student group the ‘ Public Service Aspirants of Nagaland’ (PSAN) issued a statement expressing sadness “at the turn of events from what started as a peaceful hunger strike by ANCSU.”
“The PSAN condemns the use of police brutality against innocent young students through lathi charge, water cannon and tear gas, which proves how insensitive the government is towards the plight of the citizens who elected them to power,” the press release stated.
“Sadly, it has become a culture for successive governments in Nagaland to turn blind and deaf and come to their senses only when people take to the streets to ask for our rights.”
The group lamented that there was “a lack of sensitivity and proactivity (sic) among the political leaders, thus forcing the citizens to often have no option than to protest.”
The PSAN has appealed to the government of Nagaland to look into ANCSU’s charter of demands with utmost seriousness and sincerity.
“Also, PSAN challenges the government to expedite the process of investigation and to punish any official if found guilty of misappropriating the scholarship fund meant for students.”
Another group of scholars called themselves the “Nagaland NET Qualified Forum” issued a press release too demanding action against the corrupt and asking the public to start fighting corruption.
The forum stated their disappointment at the action of the authorities against the students, and condemned the arrest of the ANCSU leaders on the 4th of June.
‘The claim of the authorities that the students were “peacefully dispersed” while using force is deplorable. The NNQF also finds the statement by the DNSU shocking at a time when they should actively be supporting ANCSU,’ the NNQF stated.
While expressing relief at the release of the ANCSU president and his colleagues, the NNQF stated to stand in solidarity with the demands of the agitators.
The NNQF mentioned that it had “repeatedly appealed” for advertisement of 68 (now 110) assistant professor and librarian posts since September 2018. No action has been taken by the authorities, the forum stated.
“The ANCSU’s indefinite hunger strike accommodating the advertisement of the 110 assistant professor and librarian posts through NPSC as one of its charter of demands hopes to find immediate response,” the press release stated.
Further, the group expressed ‘faith in the judiciary.’ The NNQF has taken the case of the alleged ‘backdoor’ or illegal appointments in the Higher Education establishment to court, it stated.
“Likewise, they believe that the government will instil the faith of the people in the system once again by peacefully discussing with the ANCSU in a more democratic manner.”
Here, the NNQF urged the public not to turn a blind eye to any fight against corruption. It has appealed to the “Naga intellectuals, activists, churches, artists, leaders and the public to come together to voice out and fight corruption in any way they can while we still can,” the forum added in its press release.