The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) in association with various students’ groups conducted a Protest March to the Parliament demanding a roll-back of the FYUP on the 18th of February. The DUTA had organized this March along with various students’ organisations including All India Students’ Association (AISA), All India Democratic Students’ Organization (AIDSO), Democratic Students’ Union (DSU), Students’ Federation of India (SFI), All India Students’ Federation (AISF), and the students’ wing of Aam Aadmi Party – CYSS.
In what was labelled as a March towards Parliament, students and teachers marched from outside Zakir Husain College to the Parliament Street where they were joined by MPs, leaders of political parties, trade unions, women’s organizations and civil society bodies. Political leaders including Manish Sisodia and Ashutosh (AAP), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M), OP Kohli (BJP), Tarun Kumar Mandal (SUCI-Communist), Udit Raj (SC/ST Federation), DP Tripathi (NCP), Kavita Krishnan (CPI-ML and AIPWA), Jagmati Sangwan (AIDWA) and Iqbal Singh Sindhu (AIFUCTO), All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) joined the procession at Parliament Street. The March culminated in a massive Public Meeting next to the Parliament Street police Barricades.
The marchers not only demanded a roll-back of the FYUP but also a reversal of the education policies’ thrust towards commercialization and PPP model. Removal of VC Dinesh Singh and condemnation of the Government’s decision to award him with a Padma Shri after allowing him to destroy Delhi University were also put forward in the form of slogans and handbills distributed to the public.
Manish Sisodia addressed the issue of commercialization of education and large-scale contractualization in teaching jobs. He also criticized the DU VC’s disregard of all democratic norms and processes, as was recently evident in the controversy over the formation of Governing Bodies in the Delhi Government colleges. He underlined the need to build popular resistance against the Government’s commercialization agenda in Education and expressed the AAP’s commitment to fighting against FYUP.
Women’s organization leaders Kavita Krishnan, Jagmati Sangwan and Ritu Kaushik (AIMSS) expressed their opposition to the FYUP by stating that it would keep the large majority of girls and young women from poorer families out of good jobs and higher studies that are the only guarantee against the conservative pressure of Khap Panchayats and the patriarchal family structures.
DUTA President Nandita Narain expressed the DUTA’s resolve to continue the struggle with greater intensity till the principal demands of the teachers and students are met. She warned the Government that its indifference to the plight of the Delhi University community would cost it heavily in the General Elections as the destruction of a Central university like DU is going to alienate the masses and turn them against any party in power that imposes anti-people measures under the garb of reforms. She attributed this indifference as a factor in the Congress Party’s heavy defeat in the last Assembly elections. She appealed to all sections of the public to join the struggle against FYUP and the policies which undermine the future of students and teachers in higher education.
In a similar protest, on 15th February, AISA led a march to UPA chairperson, Sonia Gandhi’s house to protest against the new format of UPSC exams and Delhi University’s four year undergraduate programme.
AISA has been condemning FYUP for a long time now and is demanding a full rollback. The student’s party had already made its stand clear on the same during the Delhi University union polls, adhering to which they have been carrying protest marches along with ABVP and DUTA in the recent past.
According to sources, due to the unavailability of UPA chairperson Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the party led its march to All India Congress Committee’s Office where they met Mr. Janardan Dwivedi, senior leader of Indian National Congress who further deputed the case to Mr. Shakeel Ahmed, senior spokesperson of INC. Mr. Dwivedi, though ensured the protesters that their demands would be looked into and action would be taken.
DUTA and students organisations also conducted protests against Antardhvani the previous week, condemning the nature of FYUP promotion embedded in all activities of the cultural fest.
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