On 11th November 2019, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) organised a protest from the Arts Faculty in the University of Delhi (DU) North Campus, to the Vishwavidyalaya metro station against the construction of a private 39-storey building in the University Campus.
The protest was joined by members of ABVP and led by Siddharth Yadav, State Secretary, ABVP, and Shivangi Kharwal, Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) Joint Secretary. The protest was led with slogans like, “students’ power, Nations’ power,” and “DMRC hosh mein aao,”.
Siddharth Yadav, State Secretary, ABVP, said to DU Beat, “We were the first ones to raise this issue as an organisation. We attracted attention towards it way back. The land was transferred in 2008 to this private builder by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) by corrupt practices that involved the then government as well. A private residential land on a public complex will not be accepted by the student union. This is one issue where people must unite. This is beyond ideological differences. We are hopeful in the coming days, people would unite.”
“A building on chhatra marg would be destructive- it would not be chhatra marg anymore. It would be 600 more families, 2500 more cars on campus. This is not what DU looks like. North Campus is prestigious. Most of the buildings are heritage buildings. If we change it today it is going to be a disgrace to all student leaders, to all students across. We are going to attract media houses. After this, DUSU is going to meet the defense ministry, the DMRC, the LG, and the NDFC. So, we are planning for delegations, we are planning to take this issue big,” he added.
“This is our second protest. This time, DUSU has called all organisations to come forward and join our protest and fight. This issue is an issue concerning all students in the University. Our demand is that this land should be used for the construction of hostels and sport complexes. This land is not for private builders of mafias. ABVP has written a letter to all student organisations and talked to DUTA and DUCU as well,” said Shivangi Kharwal, DUSU Joint Secretary to DU Beat.
Raja Chaudhary, one of the students who had been leading a protest against the construction of the building since 4th November on the footpath beside the metro station, said, “aap dekh rahe honge yaha pe ABVP ka protest chal raha hai. Mai bas yahi kehna chahunga ki yaha pe tokenism wala protest nahi chalega. (You would be seeing the ABVP protest that is going on right here. All I would like to say is that tokenism would not work here,)”. He has also guest authored an article regarding the construction of the private building on DU Beat.
This construction has also been opposed by students from colleges like Miranda House, Aryabhatta College, Kirori Mal College, and the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA). DU has also written letters to the President and the PMO regarding the construction of the building.
Feature Image Credits: Satviki Sanjay for DU Beat