Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) had been on a three-day strike from the 16thtill the 18th of September, 2020.
The strike had been called in light of the non-payment of salaries of teachers of 12 colleges for over 5 months across Delhi University. Teachers of several colleges have decided to stand in solidarity by boycotting online classes and administrative work during the strike period.
In a press conference on September 18, the DUTA expressed its strong disappointment in the way the government is managing this crisis, and urged Deputy CM Manish Sisodia to retract his condemnable statement which cites college maladministration and corruption as the reason for non-payment of salaries.
“We are extremely disappointed in the AAP government. They claim to be poor man’s government yet turn a blind eye when thousands of families struggle to make ends meet during this pandemic. Would they be willing to go 5 months without being paid? The government must introspect and honour the commitment it has made to the teaching and karamchari community.”Press Conference led by DUTA
Further, DUTA has also strongly condemned the suggestion of the Delhi Government to finance salaries of teachers and karamcharis through fees of students. The linkage of student fees to teacher salaries is a huge step backward for public funded universities, as it negates the idea of education being a public good.
“If this happens, an undergraduate course which currently costs about 60,000 rupees, will drastically increase to 3-4 lakhs. Private universities will use this as an opportunity to increase fees further. This destruction of public education is absolutely unpardonable and we cannot let students suffer.And it is shameful that instead of resolving the matter with the Delhi government, we are having to resort to the High Court for relief.”-Abha Dev Habib, Treasurer of DUTA.
On September 14, 2020, a writ petition was filed in the Delhi High Court by 54 professors of Deen Dayal Upadhyaya college. It was filed against Deen Dayal Upadhyaya College, the Directorate of Higher Education and the University of Delhi, demanding the immediate release of salaries of petitioners. As of 18th September, 2020, the Delhi High Court is yet to pronounce the judgement.
DUTA has said that if the concerned authorities do not provide immediate relief to the aggrieved, they are ready to up the ante and call for a mass student teacher solidarity movement.
Feature Image Credits: Abha Dev Habib