FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
SILCHAR, Feb 20: The All Assam Manipuri Students’ Union (AAMSU) today took out a rally to express their grievances against the discrimitory attitude of the state government and the education department towards their mother tongue. In a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister and submitted through the Deputy Commissioner of Cachar, Pangambam Nilkanta Singha, general secretary of the Union, said it was most unfortute that their community and their language should not get justice. According to him, Manipuris are scattered in 13 districts of Assam with high concentration in Cachar, Hailakandi and gaon districts.
Manipuris, Pangambam Nilkanta Singha added, have been living in the state for centuries. Manipuri medium was introduced at lower primary schools in 1956, upper primary schools in 1965 and high school leaving certificate (HSLC) examition in 1984. This was followed by introduction of Manipuri subject in higher education including Master of Arts in the subject in Assam University. Pangambam Nilkanta Singha argues Manipuri as a language is listed in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.
Despite the language being recognized as a subject for higher studies, the Manipuri students are deprived of the opportunity to appear in competitive examitions conducted by the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) and other state government departments. Manipuri students have to appear in the examitions either in Bengali in Barak Valley or in Assamese in Brahmaputra Valley. This is highly discrimitory and unjust. To add salt to their injury, Seram Herajit Singha, president of AAMSU, pointed out non Manipuri speaking persons are appointed in lower and upper primary Manipuri medium schools.
This kind of appointments has created problems for the non-Manipuri teachers who find difficulty in communicating with the students. The education of these children has been severely affected. Seram Herajit Singha says though the Government of India and the state have introduced a number of programmes like Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA), Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan (RMSA) and Anundoram Borooah Award Scheme, there is no change of situation for the Manipuri medium schools. What has further added to the problem is the non-appointment of teachers against sanctioned posts lying vacant in the schools. On the other hand, hundreds of TET qualified youths of the Manipuri community is yet to get appointments.
AAMSU has demanded introduction of Manipuri as an optiol subject in the combined civil service and other examitions conducted by APSC. All vacant posts in Manipuri medium schools have to be filled up by absorbing the TET qualified Manipuri youths. Manipuri as a medium of instruction should be introduced up to higher secondary level and the Union has also pressed for appointment of one Manipuri academic officer in the Assam State Text Book Production and Publication Corporation to help in resolving various problems being faced by the Manipuri medium students.