On Monday, April 10, the teachers and various teacher organisations of Delhi University staged a protest during an Executive Council meeting, demanding the absorption of ad-hoc and temporary teachers along with the formation of governing bodies in Delhi government-funded DU colleges.
The members of the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) protested outside the vice chancellor’s office while the Executive Council meeting was underway. They were joined by the teachers’ wing of the Aam Adami Party, the Academics for Action and Development Delhi Teachers’ Association (AADTA). The demonstration included two members of the Executive Council itself, Seema Das and Rajpal Singh Pawar, who are also associated with AADTA. The primary issue raised was that of the displacement of ad-hoc teachers, leading to dire financial conditions and job insecurity.
“The ousting of long-serving teachers is inhumane and promotes social insecurity in the working of the ad-hoc teaching community, which is not in the interest of the academic environment, teachers, and the community.”
—AK Bhagi, Delhi University Teachers’ Association President
They demanded the absorption of displaced teachers and additionally called for the formation of governing bodies in colleges funded by the Delhi government, claiming that the “arbitrary displacements” had been a result of the absence of governing bodies.
“DU has been reneging on its promise of no displacement and warned that this is leading to the harassment of thousands of ad-hoc and temporary teachers working in the colleges of the University.”
—Seema Das, Executive Council Member and Member of AADTA
Displacement of ad-hoc teachers has been a pressing issue in the varsity, as data gathered by some University teachers suggests that nearly 76% of ad-hoc teachers have been displaced. Of the 615 ad-hoc teachers who were interviewed for permanent positions in various colleges, it is estimated that nearly 465 have been displaced as of April 8. Many of them have been teaching for several years, some even decades and nearing retirement.
“You cannot displace them in just two minutes. What will happen to them? Where will they go? Many of these teachers are above 40 and some are even nearing retirement. They provided their services despite knowing that they were not going to receive any facilities that the permanent staff do. We have been abandoned by the University and left in a lurch.”
— An anonymous ad-hoc teacher who was displaced recently
Some teachers alleged lack of transparency in the interview process, saying that they were not selected despite having experience and academic publications.
DU students organised a protest at Arts Faculty, North Campus to attract Delhi University authorities’ attention towards their demand for online examinations for all semesters of DU.
Following an earlier protest which was organised on 7th March 2022, students of Delhi University held another protest on 11th March 2022, demanding online examinations (or OBE) for all students, including those belonging to semesters other than the first semester. This protest was held at Arts Faculty, North Campus, Delhi University and students showed up in massive numbers to support this demand for OBE for the ongoing semesters.
These offline protests were accompanied by online protests which involved sharing of posters on stories and using the hashtag ‘#Hybridmodeshouldbeachoice’ and ‘#OnlineExamForAllSemestersOfDU’. This also led to the signing and filling of an online petition form which was then to be submitted to the Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University on 11th March itself.
After the massive re-opening protests in the beginning of February, these protests highlighting the problems of re-opening and offline classes have brought forward the irony and duality of being a Delhi University student.
The student protesters believe that OBE mode of examination is the only form in which examination should be taken in such a scenario wherein almost 70-80% of the syllabus has been covered during online classes.
For 2 years we have been giving online exams and online assignments and now suddenly the colleges have opened and (offline) internals have started… It will take time to adapt ourselves to the university environment; and we haven’t gotten that much time. Majority of our syllabus has been completed online. Only the latter 30% is being taught in offline (mode) and then you are expecting that we give offline exams so obviously that is a problem for us,” says Anubhav, a 3rd year UG student from Ramjas.
Many students have also raised concern over the fact that while all the colleges have opened, hostels have not. This means that in addition to all the other problems and issues that the students are facing, they also have to find a place to stay at a very short notice. This comes with an extreme rise in PG prices and rents, something that cannot be ignored when talking about students coming from different economic backgrounds.
I saw yesterday that the mother of a student was crying that please get my daughter a hostel, a room. They haven’t thought about where the students are going to stay. All they have said is that come and give offline exams,” continues Anubhav.
Many of the post-graduate students have also highlighted the problem of having to leave the jobs that they had taken up or the examinations they were preparing for.
We have already started pursuing our different (professional) lines and we have started the studies for the same. Now you are expecting that we switch over, so obviously it isn’t that easy. It isn’t easy to do so in a Master’s (degree),” said a student from Hansraj College.
Following these protests from Friday, a group of student protestors was called in front of the examination decision-making authority, that is, the Dean of Examinations, to discuss the issue and address the students’ demands. This was done without the presence of the Vice-Chancellor due to his absence during that time.
First of all, they said that majority of the students want to give offline exams. On that, we showed them the 7000 forms (petition forms) that had been filled after which they said that they would mediate upon this and get back to us,” said Divyanshu Singh Yadav, who has been very vocal and visible at the protests and has been constantly urging students to support the cause through the medium of videos on an Instagram page dedicated to this cause, ‘du_online_mode_2022’.
At present, no clear decision has been taken in response to these students’ protests yet.
Despite intermittent rain and drizzle, student fraternity stood rock solid to give momentum to mass awareness programme regarding the much talked about dubitable act.
On Thursday, 16 January 2020, resistance against the contentious laws of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), National Register of Citizens (NRC), and National Population Register (NPR) was conducted by ‘Gandhi Calling Organization’ in association with Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI), Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU), and National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), at Arts Faculty, North Campus, University of Delhi (DU).
The mass movement witnessed some key figures such as social activist Medha Patkar, Tushar Gandhi, lawyer Karuna Nundy, Justice Kolse Patil, and Journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani among others. The president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU), Aishi Ghosh was also expected but she didn’t make it to the programme.
A nukkad natak by the hausala group of school going students kick-started the event with the central message of ‘echoing the dissent in a democracy.’
Amidst the intermittent rains, the awareness programme got delayed by an hour and faced some difficulties in operation but the perseverance with which the protestors and the speakers stood, made the event a successful one.
‘Narmada Bachao Andolan’ anchor, Medha Patkar spoke firmly about her differences from the Act and hinted towards having a source (whose identity shall remain undisclosed), about the fact that internal debates are happening inside the ruling party about NRC and there might be a silver lining to it.
Lawyer Karuna Nundy, who once worked with the victims of Bhopal Gas Tragedy, broke down the legal aspect of the Act and while talking about the loopholes, said, “the males, urban, and savarnas will have a much greater chance of having documents contrary to the females, village dwellers, bahujan, aadivasi, etc.” She also talked about the correlation with what she said,” ‘Hindutva supremacist philosophy’ and ‘toxic masculinity and patriarchy.’ ” She concluded by reciting the preamble of the Constitution of India.
Tushar Gandhi outrightly called out the government for distortion of history and manipulation. He said, “we will never be enslaved again and must have our heads held high.”
Justice Kolse Patil stood in the drizzle whilst appreciating the youth mobilisation and talked about the importance of education and student movements.
Journalist Arfa Khanum Sherwani majorly emphasised about the role of women in the protests and saluted the ones in Shaheen Bagh who took to the streets for their rights. She also addressed the ethics of media and how it’s the “voice of the voiceless.”
Speaker sessions were complemented by songs, from ‘dastak‘, slogans, rhymes, etc in between to keep the crowd engaged despite the drizzle and rain.
The programme was wrapped up by chants and slogans of Azadi, Inquilab, etc. Although the event was to be followed with a protest march at the end but it was cancelled as the rain caused a delay. Hence, affecting the time-bound permission sought prior to the event from the officials. Upon denied any relaxation in time, protesters raised both of their hands up as a gesture, in the air and chanted freedom slogans once again and thus concluded a successfully held peaceful protest.
The students who joined in on the protest talked to DU Beat and said that they felt ‘relatively safer’ in protesting inside the campus and are motivated by Bismil and Ashfaq to speak up and fight for what they believe is wrong. Some of them deemed the act as ‘unconstitutional’ and would continue to fight it till it’s not taken back.
Amidst sloganeering and illustrating placards, Left Wing collectives from Delhi University (DU) including All India Students’ Association (AISA), PACHHAS, Pinjra Tod, and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) organised a protest, and a memorial for Kashmir Lockdown and SAR Geelani respectively at art faculty today.
“Kunan Pashpora yaad karo, AFSPA nahi chalega (Remember Kunan Pashpora, Bring Down AFSPA)” and similar slogans ran throughout the protest organised to commemorate the memories of S.A.R. Geelani, an Arabic language professor from Zakir Hussain College who passed away on 24th October following a cardiac arrest. Geelani was a controversial figure; a native of Kashmir he was first convicted but subsequently acquitted in 2001 Parliament attack case.
On Tuesday, various student organisations from DU including the likes of AISA, PACHAS, Pinjra Tod, and SFI organised a protest at Arts Faculty to celebrate him. Simultaneously, protesters also brought back the diabolical memories of Kashmir Lockdown which completed 100 days on 13th November.
On merging two separate incidents into one protest Nandita Narain, the former President of Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), told DU Beat that because Professor Geelani was also a Kashmiri who felt deeply for the valley it would be befitting to combine both the events. On asking if yesterday’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) protest has defoliated the amount of attention this should have gotten, Professor Narain said, “ All these things are related. The policy that the government is following are connected with each other. JNU students must be extremely traumatised and busy with their own protest otherwise whenever we call for a protest, they always come in large numbers.”
Remembering his late friend, Professor Rakesh Ranjan told in his speech how much Professor Geelani felt for political prisoners who get framed wrongly. About Kashmir, Ranjan said that Geelani always believed that Kashmiris will decide for Kashmir themselves. He added, “If we want to defeat fascism, we’ll have to strengthen democratic right movement in this country.” His speech ended with crowd cheering the slogan, “Long Live Right to Self Determination”
Talking to DU Beat, Abhigyan, former Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) Presidential candidate, lashed out at Government’s repulsive behaviour towards Kashmir as the valley enters 107th day of lockdown. He said, “The way Kashmir was made a UT by abrogating 370 following which the way in which opposition voices were crushed there, it’s evident that this is not just a mean to curb dissent but also democracy wholly.”
Amidst the protest, a reporter from Zee News got heckled while she tried to talk to the protesters. The enraged protesters turned hostile towards her claiming that the channel reported lies against Professor Geelani, and did biased covering on the abrogation of Article 370.
Feature Image Credits: AISA Delhi University (Facebook)
ABVP protests against fraud and nepotism in the admission process of a Ph.D./M.Phil. student and violation of UGC regulations by the Department of Political Science of the University of Delhi (DU).
Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) volunteers gathered at the Faculty of Arts and marched to the Department of Political Science on 18th October, 2019, for the second day of their protest against the administration of Political Science Department for the ongoing corruption, nepotism and violation of University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines in the admission process.
The Department of Political Science has allegedly conducted its Ph.D./ M.Phil. admissions without adherence to UGC regulations and University of Delhi statutes, resulting in favouritism and negligence of merit. ABVP has been protesting since the 17th October, 2019 against the fraud in the admission process in the Ph.D. of this Department, violation of rules and regulations of University Grant Commission, and favouritism in the admission process. According to the Press Release issued by ABVP, a group of Professors, who are ideologically intolerant of liberal ideas, they are denying admission to the meritorious students.
This protest has come after discrepancies in the 2019 admissions. Apparently, on 7th October, the list of the selected candidates was published. However, after two hours, it was removed and a new list was published. The only difference, it no longer had the name of a girl belonging to the Scheduled Castes category. The administration of the Department has not given the reasons for the removal of the name yet. Moreover, only 13 seats out of the 18 available seats were opened for admission.
Ashutosh Singh, State Media In-charge for ABVP, said to DU Beat, “We came to know through the students that the professors tend to give preference to their favourite students in the viva for the entrance exam, neglecting the ones who are also deserving. Last year it came to our notice that even the top ranking students of the entrance exam were not able to get admission after the viva. How is it possible for the top rankers to completely fail in viva?”
ABVP has asked the administration of Political Science Department seven questions regarding the inconsistencies in the admission process and has given the administration an ultimatum to answer their queries by Monday. ABVP claims to also have written letters to the Dean of Political Science Department, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Delhi and Vice President of India for this purpose. Apart from this, the ABVP volunteers have also placed the following demands:
Make admission process to M.Phil./Ph.D. fair and transparent.
The admission process must be centralized and time-bound.
Admission must be conducted in adherence to UGC regulations and the University of Delhi statutes.
All the seats offered by DU prospectus for Ph.D. intake should be fulfilled at the earliest by all the Departments.
The number of seats for the research must be increased.
Social Justice must be implemented in all its constitutional and legal dimensions.
The UGC prescribed 70:30 ratio of written exam to viva-voce must be implemented with all its transparency.
The examination process must be student-friendly and the bureaucratic red-tapism must be curbed.
Steps must be taken to curtail the influence of Teachers’ politics on the admission process.
Address the grievances of those students who have been denied admission on fraudulent grounds.
Siddharth Yadav, State Secretary, ABVP Delhi, said in the Press Release, “Administration of Political Science Department should not think that yesterday we were here only for a symbolic protest, we will continue our protest till the student interests are not secured. Our protest will turn into a revolution if the administration will not listen to our demands.”
In solidarity with the Department of Hindi, the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) organised a march against the caste discrimination within the department, joined by other student organistaions like All India Students’ Association (AISA), and Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS).
The post of the Head of Department (HoD) in the Department of Hindi at Delhi University (DU) has been lying vacant for the past three weeks after the end of the tenure of the last HOD on 12th September. Two veteran members of the department, Professors Sheoraj Singh Bechain and K N Tripathi, have both staked claim to the post. Essentially, there are two ways in which someone can become a Professor — either by direct recruitment to the post, or by promotion under the Career Advancement Scheme (CAS).
In the case of the Department of Hindi, Mr. Singh was a direct recruit whereas Mr. Tripathi comes under the CAS bracket, which has led to a contest.
As stated in a Press Release by SFI, despite the completion of all official formalities, and submission of a memorandum and a letter to the Vice Chancellor, as a reminder for the urgency of a new head, there has been no progress for an appointment. The Vice Chancellor had already completed all formalities with the last HoD with respect to appointing the next Head, and yet there is an unexplained delay. There has been no communication initiated with the department, and no official announcement has been made with respect to the appointment.
Professor Sheoraj Singh Bechain, the senior-most faculty has been appointed to be the head. He is also one of the very few Dalit professors in DU. He has actively contributed to Dalit Literature, and is a renowned personality in the anti-caste writing sphere. It is to be noted that there has been no Dalit member to have been appointed as a HoD in DU.
SFI members along with College professors marched from the Faculty of Arts to the Vice Chancellor’s office demanding the appointment of Professor Bechain with respect to the seniority clause. Hansraj Suman from Academic Forum for Social Justice, told The Times of India, “We demand the department release the seniority list and based on that, professor Singh should be given the charge of HoD without delay.” The student wing SFI condemned the Vice Chancellor’s lethargy being due to the Professor’s low caste.
There has been no response with respect to the March from the Vice Chancellor’s office.
On Tuesday, 10th September, the Pune Police searched the residence of Hany Babu, an Associate Professor in the Department of English of the University of Delhi (DU), in relation to the Elgar Parishad Koregaon Bhima case.
On 11th September, students from the Department of English organised a protest near Faculty of Arts, to express their anger and condemn the “illegal raid” at the residence of an Associate Professor from their department, Professor Hany Babu. Professor Babu has been a professor in the varsity for over a decade and has come under the scrutiny of the Pune Police due to his alleged links with the Maoist ideology that incited violence in Koregaon Bhima villages of Maharashtra in 2017.
In his public statement, Professor Babu said, “The search went on for six hours, at the end of which they said they (the Pune Police officials) would be seizing my laptop, my hard disks, my pen drives, and books. They made me change the passwords of my social media accounts and my e-mail account. They have complete access to my accounts now through the changed passwords and I no longer have access to these accounts. I would like to state that as a teacher, my work is heavily dependent on what I’ve saved in my laptops and external hard disks. It also contains the research work that I’ve been pursuing for years. This work is not something which can be duplicated in days. These are years of my hard work. I don’t understand how a government agency can seize my work without providing me the reasons for it, or the basis on which a search was conducted at my residence. They did not have a search warrant with them and they did not explain further as to why they don’t possess the same.”
The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) condemned the act. In two separate statements, signatories including staff members and teachers of the varsity have criticised the Pune police and wrote, “The fact that legally obtained and publicly available documents may be imagined by the state as containing traces of one’s culpability is worse than declared attempts at censorship. It effectively means that any text may now become a pretext for the state to snoop into and invade our homes, our bookshelves, our lives and our families. Is the act of reading itself proscribed in what is numerically the world’s largest democracy?” Further, Professor Babu’s students also released a statement aptly titled “Professor, He is Our Professor” which reads, “While we feel that the law must take its own course, we also make it clear that these surprise searches without warrants are illegal and amount to extreme harassment. It is incumbent upon legal institutions to oppose such arbitrary raids and prevent/oppose the misuse of inherently dangerous laws such as the UAPA (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act).” Importantly, the statement also noted, “Hany Babu’s demand for language equality is allied to his demand for breaking caste exclusions in how knowledge is organised,” as Babu is also a part of the Alliance for Social Justice, a forum for opposing caste discrimination in the University.
The subjugation of voices, the strong opposition of ideas, and vulnerability of those who are knowledgeable becomes a trend in the times when a country’s strong voices are subdued to pave way for the façade of calmness and democracy. A professor explicitly claimed in one of their classes that with this advancement, most of the academicians who, over the years, have developed the intellect and voice to speak out, are afraid. Professor Babu’s case hits home in every regard. As respectable figures in the Department, both he and his wife, Mrs. Jenny Rowena, amass strong support, but most of it is under the protective layer of secrecy and confidentiality. For, even the ones with knowledge want to stay safe from the starkness of this dangerous world of misinterpretation and hypocrisy.
Saturday, 21st September, saw a series of protests concerning the Jadavpur University unrest in West Bengal. On one hand, All India Students’ Association (AISA), Pinjra Tod, and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) protested against the actions of Babul Supriyo and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) supporters at the Jadavpur University. On the other hand, ABVP protested against left terror and condemned the heckling of Supriyo.
On Saturday, 21st September 2019, two protests broke out in the Faculty of Arts, North Campus of the Delhi University (DU). The first protest was organised by Pinjra Tod, AISA, SFI along with other left supporters, condemning the actions of the ABVP supporters and Babul Supriyo at Jadavpur University. In response, a counter-protest was held by members of the ABVP, calling for an end to “Left Terror” and “Red Terror” across the country, condemning the heckling of Supriyo at Jadavpur University.
The left-leaning parties and Pinjra Tod arrived at the Faculty of Arts first. The protest, planned for 12 p.m, began at 12:15 p.m. because the police force present on the venue impeded it. After reconciliation with the police force, the left began their protest surrounded by barricades with slogans like, “ABVP ki gundagardi, nahi chalegi! (Hooliganism by ABVP would not be accepted!)” and “ladenge tumse kadam kadam pe! (We will fight against injustice every step of the way!)” Outside these barricades, ABVP supporters began their own protest, condemning and to stop leftist and red terrorism, and violence, while chanting, “Desh ke gaddaro ko, goli maaro saalo ko! (We need to kill off the traitors!)”
Following this, the Akshit Dahiya and Shivangi Kharwal, the President and Joint Secretary of Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) respectively, addressed the crowd. Thereafter, ABVP proceeded to move closer to the leftist protest and burnt effigies with “Left Terror” and “Red Terror” written on them. When the effigy burning did not faze the leftist parties, the ABVP supporters went closer to barricades and shouted slogans like, “Bharat mata kiJai! (Long live Mother India!)” and “Left Unity Muradabad! (Go down Left Unity!)” This resulted in the leftist parties and Pinjra Tod to turn to the barricades and chant, “Azadi!”
Sidharth Yadav, Delhi State Secretary of the ABVP, told DU Beat, “The incident is shameful! Does the freedom of expression allow anyone to pull [a] union minister by his hair? Tear a guest’s shirt? Manhandle a woman? Is what left did in Jadhavpur University not mob lynching? It’s high time we stop our selective outrage and expose such people. The left only believes in violence and this is what they have done in Kerala, bengal, JNU; wherever they are in power. We won’t tolerate this in DU. DU stand with Jadhavpur University and the space of debate and dissent won’t end here.”
While Kawalpreet Kaur, President of AISA, commented, “From JU to DU, wherever there is a strong students’ voice against BJP’s anti-people and anti-student policies, BJP government unleashes an all out attack on campus democracy.” She also added that DU students stood up when ABVP had vandalised a seminar in Ramjas College, and will also stand up against ABVP’s hooliganism across the country.
We contacted members of the SFI and Pinjra Tod for detailed responses, but they were unable to provide a comment on the same.
Feature Image Credits: Gauri Ramchandani for DU Beat
Following demands to rename the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) Office after VD Savarkar, the DUSU has now installed a pillar with the busts of Savarkar, Subhas Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh in the campus, creating a new row.
In an incident that is causing a new controversy in the University of Delhi (DU), the DUSU– led by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)– on Tuesday, installed the busts of VD Savarkar, Subhas Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh on a pillar outside the Arts Faculty Gate No. 4 in the North Campus. This development comes a week after the student party raised a demand to christen the DUSU Office as ‘Veer Savarkar Bhawan’.
This episode has created a new row in the University circuit. The conflict has arisen because firstly, the DUSU allegedly not followed the proper procedure behind the installation of the busts, and secondly, the opponents of this move are raising a more fundamental criticism that placing Savarkar along with Subhas Bose and Bhagat Singh is unjustified.
In what seemed like giving the ABVP a taste of RSS and BJP’s own medicine, the Indian National Congress (INC) backed National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) called the move made by the DUSU an “anti-national step” and an example of “sheer pseudo-nationalism”.
Saimon Farooqui, the National Secretary of the NSUI, said, “ABVP has always considered VD Savarkar as their hero. [In spite] of him begging for mercy in front of the English Government, the ABVP wants to promote his agenda. We should never forget that he opposed Quit India Movement and refused from unfurling Tiranga, hence demanding for Hindu Rashtra. Comparing Savarkar to Shaheed Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose is an insult to our Martyrs and their freedom struggle. Naming the august office of representatives of the students of one [of] the best universities after an anti-national person will bring disgrace to the university. It is an example of sheer pseudo-nationalism of ABVP. I, on behalf of NSUI strongly oppose this anti-national step.”
Similarly, on the issue of naming the DUSU Office after Savarkar, Sumit Kataria, the Delhi State Vice President of the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), the party affiliated to the Communist Party of India (CPI), said, “They [DUSU] are not making any new institution and are just renaming an already existing one. All these are just political gimmicks by ABVP to cover up the fact that they have not done anything for the welfare of the student community over the past one year since the DUSU elections are around the corner. Also, this is just a part of their agenda of rewriting Indian history. Savarkar was a traitor to the Indian freedom struggle as he wrote many mercy petitions to the British and had pledged his allegiance to the British rule. Also, his views are completely against the idea of a secular democratic India. Naming DUSU office after such a person should be opposed at any cost and it will be.”
Akshay Chauhan, a student of History at Hindu College stated “I must say Bhagat Singh has died today. To be venerated with a Hindu nationalist who was in cahoots with the colonialists, Bhagat Singh died a shameful death.”
Not all were condemning the move of the DUSU. Professor Rasal Singh, a Member of the RSS-affiliated teachers’ organisation, National Democratic Teachers’ Front (NDTF), said, “All three [Savarkar, Bose, Bhagat Singh] are great youth icons. It is high time for the youth to get inspired by them and inculcate those values for which they lived and died.” Prof Singh had contested for the post of the DUSU Vice President on an ABVP panel in 2000.
However, given that many contested and criticised Savarkar’s very ideals and actions, was it justified to consider him a hero? “Yes definitely,” replied Professor Singh, “This is distorted history [written] by communist and colonial historians. That’s why we demand rewriting of history with nationalist perspective.” He asked in return, “Members of DUSU, which is [the] largest students’ union in the country and ABVP, which is [the] largest organization of students in the world feel that Savarkar is a national hero. [Then] what’s the issue? [Do] not they represent youths of this country?”
DU Beat had previously quoted Siddharth Yadav, the ABVP Delhi State Secretary, as saying, “Our University has forgotten the heroes of our freedom struggle. If studied thoroughly, he [Savarkar] is the true inspiration for youngsters.”
Question of procedure
According to a report in The Indian Express, “The pillar came up overnight and, by DUSU’s own admission, without permission from university authorities.” The report stated that a guard, supposedly on duty outside the Arts Faculty Gate No. 4, had said, “a mini-truck was brought in a green tent-like structure around 2 am [on Tuesday], which was set up outside the gate and surrounded by ABVP activists. Around 9.30 am, the structure was removed to reveal the pillar.”
Shakti Singh, the DUSU President in the aforementioned report, stated “We have written to university officials several times asking for permission to set up such a monument — last November, this March, April and again in August — but we got no response. So we decided to go ahead and do it ourselves,”
The condemnation (and approbation) towards the installation of Savarkar’s bust alongside those of Subhas Chandra Bose and Bhagat Singh was largely partisan. However, concerns regarding the adherence to the proper procedure were raised by even those who fundamentally supported the idea of installing the busts. Despite hailing the move itself, Professor Singh said, “However, I feel laid-down procedure should have been followed for this installation.”
Mr. Yadav, regarding the question of procedure, said, “ABVP is of the clear view that the busts should be installed in Delhi University campus only with the permission of the Delhi University Administration and other concerned authorities.” Despite reiterating the claim of the DUSU that their demands had been “completely ignored” by the administration, he added that “ABVP has clarified to the [DUSU] that the busts should be kept in the DUSU office till the permission is granted and the busts should be installed only after the due permission of the administration.”
The land on which the bust has been installed falls under the jurisdiction of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), as reported by the Indian Express.
Protest against the bust
The Indian Express had quoted Akshay Lakra, the NSUI Delhi Unit President, as saying, “If the statues are not removed within 24 hours, we will launch a strong protest.”
Then, early morning on Thursday, NSUI activists were seen approaching the Arts Faculty Gate where the pillar was installed. TheTimes of India reported that the incident took place between 2-2:30 AM. Mr Lakra, who was leading the members of the student party, first garlanded the busts of Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose and then tore off the garland from Savarkar’s. He then went on to place a garland of shoes around Savarkar’s bust but was stopped by the security personnel present there. With the garland of shoes off the bust, Mr Lakra then defaced it with what looked like black ink. The bust was, however, found clean in the morning today.
It should be noted that these recent developments have come up when the DUSU elections are just around the corner. The University announced on 20th August that while the last date for filing nominations is 4th September, the polling will take place on the 12th of September.
Feature Image Credits – Kawalpreet Kaur – Delhi President, All India Students’ Association – via Facebook
The party members of Chathra Yuva Sangharsh Samithi (CYSS) protested in front of the Arts Faculty today. They demanded a reduction of fees and, hostel facilities for the he OBC and EWS category students.
CYSS, the student wing of Aam Aadmi Party, held a protest in the Arts Faculty. The protest began at 11:30 in the morning continued till three in the afternoon. The protest saw many party workers with banners and posters, shouting various kinds of slogans.
The march was being led by, Delhi-region State President, Mr. Sumit Yadav. The protest was organised against the fee hike in various colleges and the lack of admissions of students of OBC students postgraduate hostels. It aldo focused on the provision of admissions to OBC and EWS category students in law and other postgraduate courses.
The University had recently increased the fee in various colleges like Mata Sundari. The lack of reservations has been an issue in the University of Delhi (DU) hostels where students are given seats on rank and vacancy basis making it impossible for students of reserved categories to secure admissions in hostels.
However, other than these issues, the issue of a young Muslim girl wanting to seek admission was also raised.
Afshan, a postgraduate aspirant, wanted to seek admission in DU after completing her graduation from Zakhir Hussain College. She believes that she was prohibited from giving her entrance because of her name which indicated she was a Muslim.
In addressing the gathering and DU Beat, Afshan said in her speech, translated from Hindi here- “I graduated a year back in 2018 from the University, people here say things like ‘Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao’ yet I have been struggling for two years now for getting my admission done. There was a girl in Unnao who was silenced for asking justice and that’s what they are doing to me. I wanted justice for my education and my leg shivers stating what they’ve done to me. I’ve been blackmailed and told they will ruin my documents as well. I filed a complaint, yet there is no investigation. They say they’ll abduct me. I feel shivers down my spine.”
She later tried to get in the conference hall of the University, yet she was stopped. There were policewomen ready to tackle her. After a long quarrel, she was finally admitted in the conference hall.
Later, DU Beat interviewed Mr. Sumit Yadav, Delhi-region State President. He stated, “DU is considered one of the best institutions in the country. All the students across the country even people from rural places of Delhi like Najafgarh choose DU because they get a great education at lower price. Now due to privatisation, they’ve increased the prizes. Our party has always been against privatisation and we’ve been raising our voices for the same.”
The various slogans shouted out were “Chhatro par ab reham, karo fees hamari kam karo ( Have some mercy on the students, reduce fees now)” and “Rehne ko awas chahiye humko Chathrawas chahiye (We need shelter to stay, we need students to have homes)”. They also had slogans critiquing the Vice Chancellor’s inability to provide adequate hostel facilities.
The Party members marched towards gate number four but were stopped by the guards and were not permitted to cross. The situation turned hostile when members tried to climb the gates and cross it over. The guards were forced to push them back.
“We are protesting here against the fee hike in various colleges which has been implemented this year, that is from ten thousand to twenty-five thousand rupees. It deters students from poor backgrounds from courses diversity courses as they cannot afford such high fees. We are also protesting again courses as of hostel facilities because of which students are exploited by PG owners to pay very high fees,” said Mr. Hariom Prabhakar who is the General Secretary of CYSS, while in conversation with DU Beat.