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Students Detained by Delhi Police after NREGA Discussions

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Several students and activists who had  assembled to discuss  the ‘attack’ on NREGA were unlawfully detained by the Delhi Police. 

On 24th March, a peaceful discussion organized by ‘Collective’, a youth-led political organization at Arts Faculty, Gate No 4, Delhi University, on the subject – “Cutting NREGA, silencing people, Demanding right to work”, was disrupted by Delhi Police. This was followed by detention of several students and activists involved in the discussion. 

There was heavy police deployment on campus owing to prior protests by students on debarment of two students on account of BBC documentary screening. Soon after the session commenced, the police barged in and disrupted the proceedings. The speakers, which included Jean Dreze (economist from Jharkhand ), Richa Singh (NREGA union activist from UP) and Com. Somnath (Jan Sangharsh Manch Haryana) were also held at Maurice Nagar Cyber Cell till eleven in the evening. 

All the protocols were followed and the concerned security authorities including the nearby police station were informed. Right before the discussion began; the police demanded a written permission from the proctor – something that has never been required previously. The SHO then necessitated that the discussion would continue only if the use of mike was discarded, the assembly conceded. But, mere minutes after the introduction, the police imposed section 144, students were removed from the spot and some were taken in police vans”

– Sourya Majumder, the joint secretary of Collective, in conversation with DU Beat.

The police allegedly questioned the validity and importance of discussions on issues like NREGA in college spaces. They demanded that such matters which have nothing to do with the student body should not fall within the ambit of discussions on campus. Sourya claims the cops were condescending to the Collective members. Videos of police brutally dragging students into vans have also been circulating social media. At the police station as well, their behaviour was antagonistic.  

The police was very xenophobic in their approach during interrogation. They were very brutal with the students and the mazdoor union activists. They took our aadhar number – something which has never been done before. An international student was also detained and was heckled by the police. They tried to threaten to take his visa, deport him. Sadly there has been an unfortunate degradation in the treatment of people who are detained” – Anandita, a member of Collective.

So far no FIR has been registered in this case. People have greatly condemned this incident, pointing out that it goes on to show the criminal infringement of the democratic rights of people to assemble peacefully and discuss critical issues.

Rubani Sandhu

[email protected]

Image credit: DU Beat Archives

Read Also: PGDAV Evening Students Fined and Suspended for Organising a Peaceful Protest 

Journalism has been called the “first rough draft of history”. D.U.B may be termed as the first rough draft of DU history. Freedom to Express.

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