The Mizoram government has issued an order prohibiting politicians from delivering lectures on political issues in colleges and universities of the state.
The order was notified soon after Zoramthanga and Lalduhawma, the heads of opposition parties MNF and ZNP respectively, delivered lectures in colleges across the state.
The order, issued by the director of higher and technical education department R Lalrosanga on August 18, said such lectures upset students and disturb the environment in colleges.
"Teachers in government colleges were notified that they should refrain from inviting politicians to deliver lectures in their concerned subjects," the order said and added that teachers who disobey the order would be penalized.
The government order has not gone down well with teachers, students, unions and opposition parties protesting strongly. Intellectuals accused the Lal Thanhawla government of attacking freedom of speech.
The Mizo Students' Union, Aizawl City College Joint Students' Union and Mizo Zirlai Pawl or Mizo Student's Federation met state higher and technical education minister R Romawia on the issue. The student leaders quoted Romawia as saying the state government would reconsider its decision.
The opposition parties also slammed the government for imposing restrictions on students "as they (the students) should be able to differentiate between political historical facts and propaganda." Academicians said the restrictions would handicap students, especially those studying political science.
Zoramthanga was invited by two colleges for a talk on separatist movements in the northeast and the Mizoram Accord. Lalduhawma spoke on various subjects.