The non-payment of salaries for Delhi University teachers due to the tussle between the University of Delhi and the Delhi Government has led to widespread protests all over campus-offline and online. In light of this, the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) issued a press release on October 1, 2020, calling for a Mass Hunger Strike.
Manish Sisodia, the Deputy Chief Minister had issued a statement blaming colleges like Shaheed Sukhdev College, DeenDayal Upadhyay College, Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, etc. for not being able to pay their teachers despite having crores of rupees lying in the colleges’ accounts. While the Delhi University administration continues to level allegations at the Delhi Government for not releasing funds.
With the ongoing tennis match between the two, as the context, Delhi University Teachers Association issued a press release on October 1, 2020, calling for a Mass Hinger Strike. The ‘Rolling Cluster – wise Strike’ ended on October 1, after 4 days of massive protesting by most colleges of DU, that stood in solidarity with the 12 Colleges that hadn’t received their funds. Social Media has been an important tool to amplify these protests as teachers shared photos of themselves holding placards asking for salaries, while social distancing at home, all over social media.
It is the first time in the history of DU that salaries of employees have been stopped. The Press Statement of the Deputy CM about irregularities were unsubstantiated. Such vague allegations will harm the reputation of these 12 Colleges. Further, linking employees’ salaries to students’ fund is unacceptable to the DUTA, which has always defended the public character of the University of Delhi. Linking of Salaries to the formation of GBs, corruption charges or ongoing audit processes are also unacceptable.Abha Dev Habib, Treasurer, DUTA
While grants towards salaries were finally realized recently for 6 Colleges afters a gap of several months, the grants are inadequate to cover the entire salary or dues of employees. Teaching and non-teaching staff of the other six Colleges are still without salaries for the last five months.
Many State Universities have collapsed because of bad Governance and such measures by State Governments. We, students, teachers, and parents, need to stand in defense of these very reputed DU Colleges.
Some DU Colleges also held physical protests on their College Campus. According to the press release, colleges like Shri Ram College of Commerce and Jesus and Mary College held online meetings and passed resolutions against the anti-employee action of the Delhi Government.
DUTA asserts that the grants released to the six colleges is not enough, while the other six colleges have still not received their grants. The delay in providing the colleges grants have had crippling effects on the institution as well. While the teachers aren’t getting their salary, the college is unable to pay for the maintenance of its infrastructure, for electricity etc. The Press Release also talks about a similar tussle between the Chairperson of Dyal Singh College and the Principal Pawan Sharma which has led to the nonpayment of salaries for ad hoc teachers since June 2020.
The Mass Hunger Strike has a two- pronged agenda- firstly it’s a protest against the stoppage of salaries and secondly, it also aims to get justice for Dr. Ritu Singh who was refused by Daulat Ram College, to join as a teacher there because of alleged “caste-bias”.
The Notice was signed by Rajib Ray, DUTA President.
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives