The schools under the Department of Education (Schools) of the Manipur Government on July 5 reopened and resumed their normal classes for Class 1-8 after more than two months of closure due to ethnic violence that erupted in the hilly State on May 3.
The move was taken keeping in mind the welfare of the students, said sources privy to the positive development, adding the parents and guardians of the students are happy with the opening of schools after prolonged summer vacation.
During an inspection of schools on the first day of resumption of classes, a source said the “students expressed their happiness”.
The schools had extended summer vacation from May 4 till July 4 due to the prevailing law and order situation in Manipur.
Even as normal classes resumed for standards 1-8, 96 of the 4,617 schools could not be opened as the premises are being utilised for relief operations, said sources.
“The students displaced by the recent violence in the State are allowed to get admission free of cost to nearby schools,” the source informed further.
“Further, the requirement of prior permission of Board of Secondary Education Manipur/Council of Higher Secondary Education Manipur (BoSEM/CoHSEM) for Class 9 to Class 12 has been relaxed for violence-affected students opting for a change of school and no fees shall be charged for updation of registration with BoSEM/CoHSEM in such cases,” the source said.
The Department of Education(Schools) and Samagra Shiksha, Manipur have distributed textbooks, exercise books, pens, pencils, Sports items and School uniforms for the displaced children staying at Relief Camp in both Hill and Valley districts.
“Till now, 27,629 textbooks; 20,375 notebooks; 4,955 pencils; 3,483 sharpeners and erasers and 5,171 pens have been distributed to relief camps through concerned ZEOs. Further, 1,536 sports items such as football, carrom board sets, chess and ludo sets have been distributed to the relief camps,” the source added.
It was observed during an inspection on July 5 that the maximum attendance at schools on July 5 were recorded by students, who were displaced in the wake of the violence and were shifted to relief camps, the source informed further.
The conflict in Manipur led to many shifting to relief camps while leaving more than 130 people dead.
Owing to the extremely turbulent situation in the State, the schools have remained shut since the first week of May.
Ethnic clashes broke out in the State nearly two months ago on May 3 after clashes erupted during a rally organised by the All Tribal Students Union (ATSU) to protest against the demand for the inclusion of Meiteis in the list of Scheduled Tribes (STs).
The dispute has to do with a long-standing demand by the Meitei people for a Scheduled Tribe status under the Indian Constitution, which would give those privileges comparable to the tribal communities. In April, a Manipur High Court verdict directed the State Government to make a decision on the issue preferably within four weeks. The tribal communities protested the Meitei demand.
The All Tribal Student Union of Manipur (ATSUM) conducted a solidarity march in all hill districts on May 3. By the end of March, clashes broke out between the Meitei and Kuki populations in and around the Churachandpur district bordering the Imphal Valley.
Thousands of people are in relief camps.
Internet services continue to be suspended in the State and a curfew is in force in some areas. Home Minister Amit Shah visited the State and announced several measures for the restoration of peace.
The ethnic violence and clashes also saw many houses, shops, business establishments and vehicles destroyed.