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Seven Catholic schools in Manipur have failed to resume classes despite student bodies and parents protesting the indefinite ban imposed on Catholic schools by an armed group.
Students and parents of Manipur's Little Flower School and Christ Jyoti School staged a sit-in demonstration on Tuesday but school authorities refused to resume classes.
A Kangleipak Communist Party-Military Council (KCP-MC) statement, released in March end, imposed a ban on Catholic schools starting April 1, and said that the outfit had launched 'Operation Mangal' which aims to fulfill the right to compulsory education by fighting the prevalent system of admission, tuition fees, selection and reservation norms in all schools. It alleged that many student leaders in Manipur were trapped in the "school admission quota" net. It also declared that it would not spare anyone who stood against Operation Mangal and threatened to turn Catholic schools into bloody war fields.
It may be noted that on March 31, during the launching of 'Operation Mangal', KCP (MC) imposed an indefinite ban of all Catholic schools in the state allegedly for 'failing to conform to the sincere proposal of the outfit and the public.'
Catholic schools in the area include: Catholic School, Christ Jyoti, Little Flower School, Nirmalabas High School, Sacred Heart, St. Joseph's and St. George's.
The outfit warned that school managing committees would be responsible for any untoward incident that may occur if the schools reopen.
"We are not in a position to open the school as of now. We don't know what the consequences would be unless the matter is resolved," sisters of Little Flower school said. Principals of other Catholic schools echoed similar statements.
However, the Manipur government has asked the Catholic schools in the valley districts to reopen without fail from Wednesday promising to provide security. The government has promised school vans that will ferry the students as usual from Wednesday morning failing which their permits may be cancelled.
It may be mentioned that following appeals by the Democratic Students Alliance of Manipur (DESAM) and All Manipur Students' Union (AMSU), few students went to schools on Tuesday- At Christ Jyoti School in Mantripukhri in Imphal West district, very few classes were held while in Little Flower School in Imphal West, very few students turned up. On the other hand, students and teachers of Nirmalabas School had to return after the authorities refused to resume classes.
The All Manipur Students' Union had yesterday said its volunteers would form human chains around the Catholic schools from the following day to protect schools and students.