Caste Discrimination


The ongoing protest against the alleged systematic oppression and institutionalised caste discrimination intensified violently during a recent mass protest at the North Campus of Delhi University.

Trigger Warning: Casteism, Caste-Based Discrimination, Alleged Police Brutality, and Physical Violence.

Along with hundreds of other protestors, Dr. Ritu Singh was arrested by the Delhi Police outside Gate Number 4 of the Arts Faculty on Tuesday, February 6, after she had been demonstrating against the purported caste prejudice at Delhi University for more than 160 days. Dr. Singh, previously employed as an ad-hoc teacher in the Psychology Department of Daulat Ram College (DRC), has been advocating for justice by calling for the resignation of DRC’s principal, Dr. Savita Roy, citing alleged instances of caste-based discrimination. Following her termination during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Dr. Ritu asserts that she was dismissed without prior notice, despite directives from the Ministry of Human Resource Development stipulating the retention of contract-based teachers. Accusing the principal of singling her out due to her prominence within the Dalit community, Dr. Singh also alleges that her objections to her termination resulted in her being subjected to caste-based insults and renewed threats.

Drawing support from across the nation, Dr. Ritu called upon individuals via social media to join her in a mass agitation against the prevalent caste-based discrimination in educational institutions and to hold the Vice-Chancellor of Delhi University accountable. As per reports, on February 6 at 10:00 a.m., Dr. Ritu Singh and over 25,000 demonstrators from across India attempted to reach the protest location through the ‘Vallabhai Patel Chest Institute’. However, they encountered police buses and personnel deployed at the designated protest area to apprehend all supporters expressing solidarity. Bhumika Saraswati, a journalist providing detailed coverage of the protest, reported that there was heavy deployment not only of the police but also of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), also known as the Armed Border Force, operating under the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). It is purported that protestors were subjected to physical mistreatment, forcibly dragged and detained in 50–60 police buses, and faced casteist -slurs by the police personnel. Dr. Ritu herself was apprehended and transported to the Maurice Nagar Police Station. Reportedly, some protestors were taken to Jaffarpur Kalan Police Station, located roughly 35 kilometres away from the initial detention site, where they were allegedly forced to line up and subjected to verbal abuse.

It was dehumanising. I do not think a protest where the majority is from the upper caste will face such abuse.

– A fellow protestor commented.

In a video shared by Dr. Singh on her social media displaying injuries and bruises, she accused individuals affiliated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) of “attempted murder.” She claimed that these individuals employed knives and lathis (batons) against the protesters and purportedly hurled searing tea onto the face and body of ‘Bhim Army Student Federation’ (BASF) President Ashutosh Bodhh.

We have been attacked by RSS goons. They have declared that as long as they are present, no one can take action against the Vice-Chancellor or Savita Roy. This university is not a safe place for Dalits at all.

– Dr. Ritu Singh discussed it on her Instagram page (@officialdrritusingh).


Read Also: “Want Justice, Not Job:” Protests for Suspension of DRC Principal Intensify

Featured Image Credits: @officialdrritusingh

TW// Sexual harassment & casteism

After a gap of three years, the Delhi University campuses have been covered in the hues of Student Union Elections. However, the true face of these elections may be found beneath the democratic facade. While money and power are the most addressed sides of this dark coin, there is another side that frequently gets overlooked: caste politics and gender-based violence.

 The Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) Elections are being held after a gap of three years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Pamphlets, roads covered with paper cut-outs, banners, posters, fights, and long traffic jams marked the beginning of the campaign of various student union organisations across campuses at DU. From the north campus to the south campus and off-campus colleges, every college at the University of Delhi is draped in the colours of elections. However, what lurks behind these hues is a mix of democracy and oppression.

Hundreds of posters, thousands of paper cut-outs all over the streets, and rallies of black and white cars tossing the same paper cut-outs you’re walking on speak volumes about how democratic and accessible the DUSU elections are. However, beyond these money and power dynamics lies the worst face of the DUSU elections: an open breeding ground for sexual harassment and casteism.

It is difficult to distinguish the inappropriate advantage taken of such packed surroundings at large-scale rallies with hundreds of party workers yelling slogans and the names of their candidates. Whether it’s a kind but unwelcome handshake or being unexpectedly touched in a throng or a bunch of guys gazing at every woman moving by, footage of mobs of men forcibly entering women’s colleges appears all over the internet every year. The fact that there are no proper caps on crowd control or codes of conduct gives these people the pass to repeat it again and again.

I have witnessed sexual harassment take place during election events. As soon as it gets crowded and people start getting pushed around, they start touching you everywhere. The language they use makes us feel disgusted. Right now, a person approached us and said: ‘Kya laundiya khadi kar rakhi hain’ (What women have they made stand here). We are also students, so what is wrong with us supporting any party just because we are women? The opposition, especially, really tries to make us feel uncomfortable as a part of their own political agenda.

– Two female party supporters in an interview to Newslaundry

 Students find it difficult to speak out about sexual harassment on campus due to the rising degree of fear culture established by these mobs of men. This year, too, hordes of ABVP members forcibly entered Miranda House’s campus twice.

When any left-wing organisation stages a tiny protest, massive police forces are deployed. They are sometimes detained for “disturbing the peace on campus. However, in incidents like these, where ABVP men forcibly entered the campus of a women’s college twice, there will be no police deployment or action, even after complaints.

-A student from the women’s college of DU 

Apart from toxic masculinity and a free pass for sexual harassment, caste-based violence is also common during elections. These elections are dominated by Jats and Gujjars. Every DUSU president from 2011 to 2017 was either Jat or Gujjar. These two communities dominate not just the president but the whole panel. Voting in the name of caste is also very common.

TW// Casteism

I heard my classmates say, ‘Ye AISA waale SC/ST ke chapri logo ki toli hai, isko kon vote dega’ (AISA is a group of people from the SC/ST community, who’s going to vote for them).

– A third-year BSc. student

 Vote appeals based on caste are fairly prevalent. Even upper-caste voters say it would be a disgrace if a lower-caste person won the election. In 2018, the Delhi Police released an advisory urging students not to vote based on caste. They warned candidates who appealed for votes based on their caste.

The larger question is whether left-wing politics, which is more issue-centric and nuanced in its narrative, is putting pressure on bigger parties to reform themselves. The pinjra tod campaign that seeks to make hostel and paying guest accommodation regulations less regressive and restrictive for women students is refreshing to see. In the past year, we can see a change in the way the NSUI has conducted itself, and this could have been an influence of left-leaning groups like the All India Students’ Association (AISA).

-Apoorvanand, professor at the Department of Hindi, University of Delhi in an article by Firstpost (2018)

The present DUSU elections have their foundation on four pillars: money, muscle, masculinity, and caste. The lack of a strict code of conduct and the administration’s inability to maintain a check on hooliganism give these individuals a free pass to do such things again and again. Whether it’s blocking traffic for their campaign, forcibly entering women’s colleges, or instilling terror in caste and gender minorities.

A safe, free, and fair election is often demanded. While most students would want to remain bystanders to the drama of these elections, such a stage is unachievable. Unification is required to bring about a complete transformation in the electoral process. Until then, the DUSU elections will be viewed as a reflection of the greater electoral landscape rather than a democratic practice.


Featured Image Credits: The Hindu

Read Also: Power and Politics in the Delhi University Students’ Union


Dhruv Bhati

[email protected]


Every day, we come across a wide range of content on social media. From news updates to political opinions to personal blogs, content creation acts as a source of income for many. In many cases, this has unfortunately facilitated the development of media that capitalises on polarising social issues and caters to the “majority,” even at the cost of being offensive or discriminatory towards particular groups. Read ahead to find out what fuels social media’s “economy of hate” and the alarming impacts this has on our society.

The use of social media is on the rise in the contemporary digital era. Following the boom in usage, it has now acquired the function of a community space for news updates, political ideas, and the development of online communities of individuals with shared interests. Being a social media celebrity comes with the added benefit of monetization. This content plays a major role in our daily discussions and the formation of personal opinions. With the added advantage of anonymity, this freedom of speech or expression of thoughts can go unchecked and develop a dark side too.

Cyberbullying or cyberharassment is becoming increasingly common among teenagers and adolescents, as well as in nations with fragile democratic structures and diverse social and religious groups. According to the Pew Research Centre, in 2022, at least half of the young people in the United States had experienced bullying at some point in their lives. India has one of the highest rates of cyberbullying. As per a study by McAfee, 85% of children in India have experienced cyberbullying or have perpetrated it themselves. This rate is nearly twice as high as the global average.

Content creators have a significant role in the perpetuation of cyberbullying. Targeting an individual or community for a few likes in order to grow an account is all too common on Instagram and X (previously Twitter). Some people post discriminatory content as a “joke,” while others post it as a social or political viewpoint. In India, social media is one of the most powerful tools used by politicians to propagate political messaging, which often includes ideological propoganda and hatred towards certain communities. Not only this, but social media has been employed to mould public opinion and cover up the true situation in areas such as Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, the current conversion of Uttrakhand into “devbhoomi”, ethnic violence in Manipur, and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in various parts of the country in the name of illegal encroachment. There are various social media accounts on X (formerly Twitter) dedicated entirely to spreading such malicious content.

Along with using social media for political purposes, another major issue is the use of social media to propagate disinformation about particular subjects such as reservation, gender discrimination, and the queer community. Multiple individuals on X (previously Twitter) grew their accounts by posting abusive and false information about these issues. Engaging in such posts (even if you disagree with the viewpoint being tweeted) helps such tweets develop reach, making it easier for the user to reach wider audiences who may be uneducated on such issues and gullible to misinformation.

The Centre for Countering Digital Hate strives to halt the dissemination of hate speech and false information online. It is a nonprofit organisation that works to defend internet civil liberties and human rights. The Centre for Countering Digital Hate was recently sued by Elon Musk. According to a report in the Washington Post, X filed a complaint in the U.S. Federal Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that CCDH engaged in a number of unlawful acts in an effort to inappropriately access protected X Corp. data. Here are a few citations from CCDH reports:

Anti-LGBT Hate Content

TW// Queerphobia

According to a report by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, over 1.7 million tweets and retweets since the start of 2022 mention the LGBTQ+ community via a keyword such as “LGBT”, “gay”, “homosexual” or “trans” alongside slurs including “groomer”, “predator” and “paedophile”. The hateful ‘grooming’ narrative online is driven by a small number of influential accounts with large followings. Now new estimates from the Centre show that just five of these accounts are set to generate up to $6.4 million per year in ad revenues for Twitter.

Anti-Muslim Hate Content

TW// Islamophobia

A study by TRT World revealed that 86% of anti-Muslim content originates in the United States, the United Kingdom, and India. According to the research, such hostile content and disinformation led to violent attacks on Muslims and mosques.

According to a report by CCDH, social media companies, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube, failed to act on 89% of posts containing anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobic content reported to them. CCDH researchers, using platforms’ own reporting tools, reported 530 posts that contain disturbing, bigoted, and dehumanising content that targets Muslim people through racist caricatures, conspiracies, and false claims. These posts were viewed at least 25 million times. Many of the abusive contents were easily identifiable, yet there was still inaction. Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter allow users to use hashtags such as #deathtoislam, #islamiscancer and #raghead. Content spread using the hashtags received at least 1.3 million impressions.

Misogyny and Sexism on Social Media

TW// Misogyny, Sexual Harrasement, and Mentions of Rape

CCDH exposed the most influential and largest incel forum (incel, standing for ‘involunatry celibate,’ a self-assigned social media term for mostly cis-gendered heterosexual men who consider themselves “denied” of sex by women and actively spread misogynistic, sexist, hostile content directed towards women and even men who they consider more sexually accomplished than themselves). This new in-depth study by the CCDH’s Quant Lab shows a 59% increase in mentions of mass attacks, widespread approval of sexual violence against women, with 9 in 10 posters supportive, and support for paedophilia, with the rules explicitly changing in March 2022 to permit the sexualization of ‘pubescent minors’. The ‘Incel Forum’ receives an average of 2.6 million monthly visits and has 17,000 members. Discourse is driven by 406 ‘power users, who produce 74.6% of all posts on the forum, some spending upwards of 10 hours a day on the forum. In some cases, boys as young as 15 are being led down a rabbit hole of hatred and extremism. An analysis of almost 1.2 million posts made over an 18-month period found:

  • A 59% increase in the use of terms and codewords relating to acts of mass violence.
  • Mention of rape every 29 minutes. 9 in 10 (89%) of posters in relevant discussions were supportive of sexual violence against women. The forum’s rules changed to permit the sexualization of “pubescent minors”. 
  • Analysis of discussions of paedophilia on the forum shows that 53% of posters are supportive of sexual violence against children.
  • One in five posts on the forum features misogynistic, racist, antisemitic, or anti-LGBTQ+ language.
  • Mainstream social media platforms like YouTube and Google are enabling pathways to the ‘Incelosphere’.

Casteist Content

From misogyny to queerphobia to caste and race, social issues across the world are being capitalized on under this “economy of hate.” Take, for instance, the Twitter account by the name of “Anuradha Tiwari,” which often posts defamatory and hateful content on reservations. Her whole X and LinkedIn profiles are packed with anti-reservation content. This kind of content fosters young people’s development of hateful opinions and prejudice. A report by The Centre for Internet & Society titled “Online Caste-Hate Speech: Pervasive Discrimination and Humiliation on Social Media” talks about the anti-reservation and casteist content across various social media platforms. Furthermore, it discusses how casteism on campuses is greatly impacted by such online hatred.

In conclusion, the economics of hate create a shadow that undermines our social fabric in the complex network of digital places. Creators are often motivated by financial gain to take advantage of conflicts and controversy by posting systematically discriminatory content online. This exploitation breeds bias, misinformation, and harassment, in addition to eroding empathy. A cycle of hatred is fueled by the pernicious attraction of money because attention-grabbing stories draw attention and increase the wealth of those who spread them. A holistic strategy that includes stronger content regulation, media literacy instruction, and ethical digital citizenship is necessary to combat this destructive influence. We may strive to create a digital environment that is based on respect, understanding, and true connection by eliminating the financial motivations for hatred.

Featured Image Credits: Article-14

Read Also: Decoding Deceptive Deepfake

Dhruv Bhati
[email protected]

DU has written to the colleges about the existence of Caste based discrimination on campus and has directed to take actions if necessary. However, the question is whether the directions are on paper or are they going to turn up in reality? Read ahead to find out more.

Recently, the University of Delhi (DU) has written to its colleges in regards to the Caste based discrimination. It has asked the colleges to ensure that there is no caste-based discrimination on the campus. Further, it has directed the officials and the faculty members of the university to abstain from any such act that would arise due to the social background of a student.

On 25 May 2022, the assistant registrar of the varsity wrote to the colleges while attaching several letters from the University Grants Commission (UGC) on the subject of prevention of discrimination. Further it asked the colleges to take necessary actions if any such case arises. Meanwhile, the UGC has assured to take four actions on the matter including contitution of a committee which would be responsible to look into the complaints of caste-based discrimination, received from the students, teaching and non-teaching stafee of the varsity, belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST).

The university/institute/college may develop a page on their website for lodging such complaints of caste discrimination by Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes (SC/ST) students and also place a complaint register in the registrar/principal office for the purpose.

-DU on prevention of caste-based discrimination

Furthermore, it suggested the colleges take necessary actions as soon as any such incident comes to the notice of the authorities.

DU has often been the place where casteism perpetrates. While hostility between the students belonging to different castes can be observed, the antagonism among the teachers has also become an unhidden observation. In August 2020, an assistant professor had to lose her job on discriminatory grounds for being a Dalit. The professor filed a police complaint. According to her, she met the principal to find out the reason for her termination but was humiliated, threatened, and passed caste-based remarks. Again in September 2020, the National Commission for Scheduled Castes had issued notices to the DU Vice-Chancellor in regards to the alleged caste-based discrimination against the teachers in Daulat Ram College and Dyal Singh College (evening). Moving forward to August 2021, a teacher slapped her colleague in Laxmibai College. The victim, Neelam, had alleged that the attacker, Ranjit Kaur, had slapped her because the former belonged to the Schedule Caste (SC).

If these cases seem less to provide an argument on the caste-based insensitivity that the University houses, how about we take a look at DU’s syllabus? The varsity was subjected to heavy criticism when it removed renowned author Mahasweta Devi’s short story and two Dalit authors- Bama and Sukhartharini, and replaced them with “upper caste” writer Ramabai from the English syllabus. So, the question here is not whether the university is sensitive towards the issue but about taking a bold charge against the perpetrators of caste-based discrimination.

In conversation with a student from Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) told us that even a “prestigious” college like LSR is not an exception with it comes to caste discrimination. According to the student, the university is far from being caste sensitive. She felt disgusted by the notion that the people condemning the acts of discrimination are also the ones who practice them. She calls it an ‘irony’ when the varsity is writing on the issue and continues to be the place perpetuting it.

I have heard from my friends and acquaintances about how their caste segregated them from the others and how it was used as a brand to their names.

-Student, LSR

Another student from LSR, Prachi, who is affiliated to the Students’ Federation of India (SFI), told us that caste based discrimination does exist in the college space, maybe outright or subtle but it does exist. She claimed that previously she was asked if she was admitted to the college through reservation and lines like “in logo ka toh asani se ho jata hai” were spoken. Further, she finds the varsity space caste insensitive. Even though people talk about the sensitivity in top colleges of DU, it is only a ‘talk’ as she stated. Moreover, she asserted that the University is not doing its work in the aspect. She pointed out that the varsity shows its casteist attitude when it does not recruit even a single teacher from marginalised section and simply writes them off that they are not found suitable.

Sensitization of faculty and students should be done through workshops and strict actions should be taken against any case of caste-based discrimination.

Prachi, SFI, LSR

Asha Avinash Yagy from Ramjas told us that from the outside it could not be felt that such a discrimination exist in the institution. However, it could be felt, according to the him, that people belonging from upper caste, at times, find ways to supress the ones belonging from lower caste. Further, he felt that the university is somewhat caste sensitive but a lot of work needs to be done in the domain to make people live in the harmony of the fact that people from various caste can co-exist. To conclude with what the student felt, he told us that it is of utmost importance that the people have to get over the negativity that exist between them in the name of caste.

As the University is completing 100 years, it needs to become completely caste sensitive.

-Student, Ramjas College

In conversation with Himasweeta Sarma, the president of North East Cell, Hindu College and the Editor-in-chief of DU Beat, told us about the subtle instances of discrimination. Last year, she received a grievance of a North eastern student who was questioned on their food habits and whether they include only ‘momos’. She highlighted although there are no caste-based discrimination taking place within her college, subtle instances like these do take place which leaves a deep impact on the victim. She herself has been subjected to questions like why does she not look ‘North-Easterner’ enough. Further, she finds the university to be insensitive in this matter.

The University does not have time to pay attention to the cries of the student community as a whole. Do you think it’ll have time to listen to the grievances of the minority communities.

-Himasweeta Sarma, President, North East Cell, Hindu College 

Additionally, she feels that introducing committees and announcing orders is not enough. According to her, the university should try to know the experiences of the students who have been the victims of such discrimination, try to understand where the problem lies and take ations against the same. Such actions should be taken that makes the second person think twice before indulging in the same.

To add to this, in conversation with the secretary of SFI Hindu, Ankit, told us about the instances where a student belonging from upper caste try to imply their superiority and try to assert dominance among the students. In his words, if the university would have been sensitive towards caste then they would have taken any action against those who carried out the recent act of violence in Ramjas College.

On 31 May 2022, three students of Ramjas, who are also SFI activists, were attacked within their college. As reported, the students had altered a caste-based slogan which was painted by the supporters of ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad). The physical altercation took place over these caste-based slogans. The perpetrators of the attack on the students, Aman, Akhil and Sachin, are reportedly not the students of Ramjas College. Even though an FIR had not been filed, the perpetrators had publicly admitted to their wrongdoing and issued an apology. SFI had accepted the apology. However, they demanded an assurance from the administration and Police about the safety of the students. 

Further, Ankit feels that the university is completely ignorant towards the problems of students who come from oppressed castes. According to him, most students who dropout belong to the oppressed sections and the university has done nothing substantial in the same aspect. Ankit further stated that the university should assist the students from the oppressed sections so that they do not have to quit studies and can find the university space conducive for studies.

As there is a gender sensitisation committee in colleges, caste senitisation committees must also be set up. SC ST cells in colles must be made compulsory.

-Ankit, Secretary, SFI Hindu 

Collectively, students feel that the discrimination is rooted deep within the minds of the individuals and it is a subject which would require a collective cooperation of all individuals in order to eradicate it. Since the university has finally acknowledged its existence, let us wait to see how will this acknowledgement change the varsity’s environment.

Read Also: Casteism, Class, Convention: Are We Still Free?

Dr. B.R. Ambedkar and Caste System

Featured Image Credits: Uday Deb via Times of India

Ankita Baidya

[email protected]


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.

Feature Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat

Stephen Matthew

[email protected]