The displaced Kuki-Zo community medical students were barred from MBBS Phase-1 exams on November 21. This triggered the students to stage a protest and a rally in front of the Deputy Commissioner’s office on the same day seeking their right to education. Following this, the Health Minister of Manipur Dr Sapam Ranjan Singh held a press conference on November 22 hinting that a special exam could be conducted based on the advice of the National Medical Commission (NMC).
To recall, ethnic violence broke out between the Meitei and Kuki-Zo communities in Imphal, Manipur on May 3. After this, the education, livelihood and daily activities of the people have been disrupted. Affected by this, the medical students have been displaced from Imphal to Churachandpur Medical College (CMC) which has been established and functional only for the past year. As per students, CMC’s strength was 33 out of which six were CMC students and the remaining were the displaced students who were barred.
In this regard, the displaced students have also written to the Governor of Manipur Anusuiya Uikey, Manipur’s Chief Secretary, Commissioner H&FW, NMC’s Secretary, CMC Dean and Deputy Director of Administration (DDA) urging for their right to education. The displaced students attended the classes, had internal assessments and paid the exam form and fee. Despite this, the admit cards for the exam were not issued and they were not allowed to appear for their medical examination.
In fact, as per the health minister’s conference, on November 13, NMC issued a letter stating it has no objection if displaced students appeared for the university examination from a parent college or a different college. The minister shared, “We got a letter on the 13th of November from the NMC and the Under-Graduate Medical Education Board (UGMEB) stating that the NMC would have no objection if displaced students in the university are from a parent college or different college.” Additionally, “They would not have objection but the university must take the decision after due consultation with the colleges and the authorities,” he added.
Over 50 MBBS students from Shija Academy of Medical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) and Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) were allegedly barred from appearing for exams, as stated in a report by India Today NorthEast.
A special exam?
“A special examination can be conducted as per the advice of NMC. The state also needs their views and suggestions since all medical colleges of Manipur are under the NMC,” said the health minister. Additionally, he also spoke about the exams for the second and third years which are yet to be conducted in December. Further, he said that the ministry is seeking the NMC’s advice with regard to various concerns of the displaced students like eligibility criteria, regular exams, the curriculum of the students and their welfare.
Speaking about the welfare of the students, he said that they have been corresponding with the NMC from day 1. “We are taking care of the students, their academic year, and knowledge so that they don’t lose an academic year,” he said.
Refuting this statement, a first-year MBBS student from RIMS, Imphal who wanted to stay anonymous, questioned, “But when exactly was day 1 for the Kuki-Zomi medical students that these many exams have not been arranged?” As per this student, these are the exams which were not conducted for the Kuki-Zomi medical students:
1. Second year BDS additional university exam (June/July)
2. Third year BDS university exam (June)
3. MBBS third professional (part ll) examination (August)
4. PG MBBS final exams
5. BDS first year professional examination (November 14)
6. MBBS phase l examination (November 21)
“On Sunday, November 19, two days before the exam day, I contacted the Deputy Director of Administration of CMC who is residing in LAMKA (Churachandpur) to confirm whether I would be able to appear for the exam as I didn’t receive my admit card. The response has resulted in a throbbing pain in my chest,” said the RIMS student. “I heard question papers came for just the six students of CMC,” the student added.
Although the first-year students were assured they would be allowed to sit for the exam and were made to pay the fees, submit the exam form and complete the internal assessment, they were still barred from the exam, students said while speaking to EdexLive. A student, who wished to stay anonymous, claimed, “Last week, the dental students were told the same but when they were waiting in the examination hall, the question papers did not arrive. After an hour, the administrator of our college was informed by the Deputy Commissioner that due to a few issues, the displaced students would not be given question papers.”
“We were hopeful that at least MBBS students would be allowed to appear for the exam. However, they also faced the same. On the other hand, admit cards and question papers were given to the six students who were part of the CMC,” the students said, adding, “We assumed that maybe owing to rules, we were not given question papers. But we learnt that CMC students who were displaced to Imphal were allowed to appear for the exam.”
“The same rules apply to both the groups that were displaced. But for them, attendance and internal marks were never an issue. On the other side, we are not permitted to write exams,” the student said highlighting that in spite of the NMC’s no objection letter, the Supreme Court and other officials’ call to allow them to make the transfers, they are in a helpless situation as they were trying to figure out who they can approach.