Imphal, Oct 08, 2023, IANS
Imphal, Oct 8 (IANS): The unceasing five-month long ethnic conflict in Manipur, apart from claiming over 180 lives, leaving a trail of destruction and displacing over 70,000 people of various communities, has also exhausted the dreams of a large number of people, especially students studying professional courses.
Challenging the heat of the conflict broken out on May 3, many have stood strong to continue to fulfill their dreams. Among them are the violence-affected MBBS students of the newly established state-run Churachandpur Medical College (CMC) located at the district headquarters of Chin-Kuki-Zo-dominated Churachandpur, also one of the strife hotbeds.
The strife had forced all CMC students and staff, except for those belonging to Kuki-Zo communities, to flee to Imphal five days after the violence unfolded.
With the approval of the National Medical Commission (Undergraduate Medical Education Board), the state government and the CMC management arranged regular classes from three locations -- state-run Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS) complex in Imphal East district, State Academy of Training (SAT) at Imphal West’s Takyelpat and its original location in Churachandpur.
With its intake capacity of 100 MBBS seats, the CMC began its first academic session on November 15 last year.
Another 100 students, who were selected for the current year under it, have also started their classes from September 1 at SAT complex, Takyelpat.
CMC Director Dr (Professor) S. Iboyaima Singh said after about two months since the conflict broke out, 92 first batch, first year MBBS students of the college resumed their classes from July 19 on the premises of BDS College within JNIMS campus, while six students of the same batch belonging to Chin-Kuki-Zo communities are pursuing their studies at their original campus in Churachandpur with certain arrangements of teachers and other staff.
He said that classes for 92 newly selected second batch MBBS students began from September 1 at the SAT Takyel complex, a temporary study centre provided by the state government, while eight Kuki-Zo students of the same batch are in CMC.
“Despite the impact of the crisis, the college has been functioning smoothly at all three locations -- JNIMS, SAT Takyel and CMC -- with the help of the government,” Singh said, expressing his happiness.
CMC’s Assistant Professor (Community medicine department) Dr Guddi Laishram said that while the girl students of both batches from outside Manipur and far flung districts of the state are staying at JNIMS hostel, all boy students from the same places are staying on rent and private hostels near JNIMS.
The first batch of MBBS students will appear for their pre-university test under Manipur University scheduled to begin on October 9 and the final exam next month.
“All is not lost as the government and college management have worked hard enough to resume classes to ensure the academic career of the students is not lost. Now the classes are on smoothly though from three places,” the professor added.
Despite the hard efforts extended to run the college, its male students coming from outside Manipur and far flung districts of the state are facing big problems in terms of conveyance and accommodation.
First batch student, Sagar from Uttar Pradesh, narrating his plights, said, “I’m staying on rent outside JNIMS complex. I’m paying Rs 5,000 per month excluding electricity charge. Being a non-local living on rent is very difficult for me, so I request the government to arrange a hostel for us.”
A second batch student from Ukhrul district Khayeingam Varu said, “Our classes began from September 1 at Takyel but not to the optimum level because the campus is not ours.”
“Since we don’t have our own hostel, I stay on rent paying Rs 8,000 per month. As the Takyel complex is quite far from my rented place at Sanghakpham. I spend Rs 100 for auto rickshaw fare then walk 500 meters to and fro to attend class,” lamented Varu.
“During curfew and bandhs, we cannot go to college. This is a big loss of our academic career,” he rued.
Though classes are going on, practical is necessary but we haven’t done any practical for bio chemistry, anatomy and physiology, “so we are quite lacking behind,” he continued.
About the ongoing conflict he said, “We pray for restoration of peace and normalcy. Everyone is suffering and nobody from each side is benefiting anything from this conflict.”
Poonam Gothwal, first batch student from Rajasthan, who stays in JNIMS hostel said, “My parents, family members were worried about me during the crisis.”
“On May 3 and the subsequent days in Churachandpur we heard firing sounds of tear gas shells and guns. Arson also happened close to our hostel. We were saved by God’s grace. We have not lost our academic year. Let there be an everlasting peace in Manipur,” she said.
Amid the woes, CMC had on September 21 observed the 'International Day of Peace 2023' at the auditorium of JNIMS where its first batch students belted out two iconic songs- Michael Jackson’s 'Heal the World' and Mantisyahu’s 'One Day'.
They also held posters reading 'Unite people and create peace', 'Peace today, peace tomorrow, peace will' ,'War is costly, peace is priceless'.
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