An Indefinite Hunger Strike To Battle Definite Tenure

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At least 500 ad-hoc teachers of the Delhi University plan go on an indefinite hunger strike from Friday, January 4, to demand permanent jobs.

The long struggle of the Delhi University’s ad-hoc teachers continues as the protesters come to another boil to claim their righteous place in the system. Delhi University teachers protest to demand implementation of UGC regulations, revised allowances and pension, maternity leave, etc., outside VC office in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, 1 January.

As reported by the Hindustan Times, Himanshu Singh, an ad-hoc teacher in the department of Economics at Satyawati College, said, “Most of us have been teaching for over 10 to 15 years. We think it’s reasonable to demand a one-time ordinance to absorb all 5,000 ad-hoc teachers into the university since we fulfil the requisite criteria prescribed by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and were appointed by a duly constituted selection committee.”

The announcement for the infinite hunger strike came after the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) observed a strike on Wednesday to protest against the university administration’s delay in resolving several issues, including implementing UGC Regulations 2018, the regularisation and absorption of ad-hoc teachers, and releasing monthly pension, among others.

Thinking about the present situation, according to existing provisions, the university has to adopt the 2018 UGC regulations by January 18 as well as frame ordinances for them. “To make the ordinances, an empowered committee was formed to give a report, which would have acted as a draft for the Academic Council (AC) to deliberate on. After working on it for three months over the course of 10 meetings, it is yet to be brought to the table,” DUTA president Rajib Ray said, adding that the AC meeting took place after 16 months on Wednesday, January 3.

DUTA vice-president Sudhanshu Kumar claimed that the staff promotions were dependent on the acceptance of the statute. “There are around 3,000 teachers who have been waiting for a promotion for a decade,” he claimed. If the subcommittee report is not implemented by January 18, the in toto implementation of the guidelines would mean that the recommendations by the committee would be ignored, he added. Some suggested amendments by the group of ad-hoc teachers protesting to claim their position as respected and actualised members of the varsity include modifications of screening points for ad-hoc teachers and whether study leaves could be counted for promotions.

Kumar said close to 2,000 staff members gathered near vice-chancellor Yogesh Tyagi’s office and demanded action on the issues of appointment and absorption of staff members, clearance of pending promotions and implementation of pension schemes for retired teaching and non-teaching staff. The teachers’ body also demanded the implementation of maternity and paternity leaves for ad-hoc teachers. The last condition demands a question of fairness on the functionality of the system as a whole. Maternity and paternity leaves for the ad-hoc teachers has been a bone of contention. Denying these rights to the teachers is extremely problematic.

“Despite the Delhi High Court order, the university has not been releasing funds for retired employees. Several former employees, who worked in the varsity for over four or five decades, are suffering because they do not have money to treat their illnesses,” Kumar said.

The conclusion to these protests seems highly unlikely in the near future. As the ad-hoc teachers gear up for a two-day strike on January 8 and 9, the fate of the students hangs in the balance. It is high time the authorities rise to action for a righteous cause.


With inputs from Hindustan Times.

Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Kartik Chauhan

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