Displaced Kuki-Zo medical students staged a protest on Tuesday, condemning Manipur University for allegedly barring them from taking their MBBS Phase-1 examinations at Churachandpur Medical College (CMC). The students, who had been displaced due to unrest in the state, found themselves unable to participate in the exams despite fulfilling all necessary requirements, such as depositing exam fees and completing procedural formalities. Venting their frustration, the students took to the streets in Manipur’s Churachandpur district, demanding immediate transfer to medical colleges outside Manipur.
Despite the National Medical Commission (NMC) giving a clear nod for displaced students to appear in university exams either from their parent college or an alternative institution, at least 27 MBBS and 2 BDS students faced obstruction.
The discontent among the Kuki-Zo medical students escalated to a rally, where they protested in front of the Churachandpur DC office, seeking justice and the right to participate in the MBBS Phase-1 examinations.
Manipur’s Health Minister, responding to the brewing controversy, pledged his support to the Kuki-Zo students during a statement on Tuesday.
Reports suggest the Phase I exams, which commenced on Tuesday, witnessed a stark divide between the treatment of Kuki-Zo students and their counterparts from other communities. While 27 Kuki-Zo MBBS students, originally studying in Meitei-majority Imphal, had to relocate to Kuki-majority Churachandpur for safety reasons following conflicts between Meiteis and Kuki-Zos on May 3, another 92 Phase I MBBS students, predominantly Meiteis, from Churachandpur Medical College moved to Imphal. Surprisingly, students from CMC who shifted to Imphal medical colleges were permitted to write their exams, while Kuki-Zo students were denied the same privilege at CMC by Manipur University.
Expressing solidarity with the aggrieved students, Manipur’s Health Minister assured that the issue would be thoroughly investigated, and necessary assistance would be provided to rectify the situation. He further emphasised the possibility of conducting a special exam based on the National Medical Commission’s (NMC) guidance, citing that all medical colleges in Manipur operate under the purview of this regulatory body. Allegations have surfaced that more than 50 MBBS students from Shija, Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Medical Sciences (JNIMS), and Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) were prevented from participating in their examinations.
In a two-page memorandum submitted to Governor Anusuiya Uikey through the Churachandpur deputy commissioner after the protest rally, the Kuki-Zo students highlighted the denial faced by two displaced BDS students who were not allowed to write their exams from November 14. The NMC had issued a No Objection Certificate (NoC) on November 13, emphasising that the university may take a decision after due consultation with colleges and state authorities.
The displaced Kuki-Zo tribal students, emphasising their commitment to education, claimed they had diligently filled out exam forms and admit cards, depositing their exam fees through the deputy commissioner, further underscoring the need for a swift resolution to their predicament.
The health minister stated, “The state government takes the welfare of all students very seriously. Since the unfortunate incident on May 3rd, the state government has been diligently working to ensure that students not only receive academic knowledge but also that every possible measure is taken for their well-being.”
“Any steps we take, any curriculum modifications we consider must align with the guidelines of the NMC. In Manipur, the four medical colleges operate under Manipur University, a central university. We have maintained consistent correspondence with the NMC over several months,” he added.