Protesters outside Delhi University’s Art Faculty Detained, Released Later

Protesters outside the Delhi University’s (DU’s) Arts Faculty were taken to Maurice Nagar Police Station and detained. They were released later on the same day.

On Monday, 22nd June 2020, student organisations collectively called for a National Protest against attempts by the varsity to conduct online exams. Students and teachers protested outside the Delhi University’s Art Faculty against varsity’s decision to conduct online open book examinations.

Image Credits: SFI Delhi Instagram Page

Eight students and teachers were detained as reported by The Times of India. The protesters were taken to Maurice Nagar Police Station in North district (about two kilometres away from the Campus) and detained, later released. The protesters were released after they were made to sign- stating that they would not violate Section 144, which is in place due to the Coronavirus lockdown.

We waited here asking them not to file an FIR, then the police released them. The protest began at 1 pm, around 1:45-2 pm the Delhi Police detained some of the protesters

Prasenjeet Kumar, State Secretary, All India Students’ Association (AISA), DU

Students’ Federation of India (SFI) in its statement dated 22nd June 2020 mentioned that SFI activists were manhandled. Nazma Rehmani, a Professor of DU and Ex Office bearer or Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) was also among the detained.

Students and teachers were forced to take up embodied modes of protest as a last resort because the administration continuously disregarded the online petitions, memorandums and the widespread outrage from the student community through twitter storms. The university has chosen to stay quiet on the valid concerns raised by students. No proposals have been put forth by them to ameliorate the difficulties faced by students due to OBE. Such an unruly decision, which reveals a complete apathy towards the plight of students needs to be challenged in order to ensure the university does not become an exclusionary space.

Sumit Kataria, President, SFI Delhi State

 “The DU admins have not budged despite the many attempts by stakeholders. The arrest of teacher and students who protested outside VC office is unjust as it was the university’s lack or response which pushed them to it. OBE aggravates the anxiety and stress induced by the pandemic and final year students deserves to be treated like the first and second years because they too face same issues; be it the digital divide or inaccessibility to study materials. Resistance against such arbitrary decision must continue to save the character of DU.”

Akhil KM, State Committee Member of SFI.

“We as an organization are getting a lot of calls from students stuck at different locations across the country who are panicking because they either do not have access to Internet services or have left their books and study materials here in Delhi. Most Universities in India have already either postponed or cancelled their exams. But the attitude of DU admin is quite depressing; they are not ready to address the students or the teachers at all. We did a mass email and social media campaigns but when they didn’t respond we had to go to the VC Office to make the voices of students heard, but the DU administration shamelessly called in the police and students from various progressive organisations and teacher representatives were manhandled and taken to Maurice nagar police station.”

Kokil Das, a member of SFI from Ambedkar University

After a huge and continued momentum of opposition from teachers and students due to lack of proper environment, inability to access pre-requisite resources and other unfavourable conditions, on May 30, the university had released the datasheet for online examinations for its final semester students. The open book examinations are scheduled to begin in the first week of July.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archive

Priyanshi Banerjee