DU protest


Losing internet access is not that big of a deal. It’s just a matter of time… isn’t it? This piece aims to highlight the internalisation of communication blackout that has been normalised by the current regime.

Many might remember waking up one morning, sometime last month, to find their Instagram feeds not refreshing, hence beginning the day on a rather agonistic note. People came to realise later, that this wasn’t their terrible Wi-Fi bailing on them. Instead, this was their Government imposing an internet shutdown allegedly for “controlling violence and misuse by any anti-national elements.” 

Post the enactment of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act into a Law on 12th December 2019, widespread protests were observed across the country. These protests grew larger following the news of police brutality on December 15, at a peaceful protest by the students of Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI). In response to these protests, the Government ordered internet shutdowns across different parts of the Country including Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and parts of West Bengal, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh.

An article in the New York Times, reported, “As the Government of India pushes increasingly provocative policies, it is using a tactic to stifle dissent that is more commonly associated with authoritarian regimes, not democracies: It is shutting down the internet.” 

On 12th December 2019, a State-wide internet shutdown was imposed on Assam by the State Government. Contrary to the raging protests observed in the State that day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “I want to assure my brothers and sisters of Assam that they have nothing to worry after the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. I want to assure them – no one can take away your rights, unique identity and beautiful culture. It will continue to flourish and grow.” It is ironical how the medium used to provide comfort to these people was the one which had been made inaccessible in the first place.

Following the 134 instances of internet blackouts in 2018, the Government imposed shutdowns “only” 93 times in 2019. Not so bad compared to the previous year, is it? Well, 2019 also observed the world’s longest internet shutdown ever in Kashmir, which was imposed on 4th August, and has crossed 150 days of the blackout. With over 350 shutdowns since 2014, India’s closest competitor is Pakistan, with only 12 shutdowns- followed by Syria and Turkey imposing a shutdown just once each in 2018, both countries not popular for their democratic spirits.

“Living in Meerut, internet shutdown isn’t a big thing. This isn’t the first time we faced this. Every little fight that’s not even a riot, results in us living without the internet with no clue when we would get it back. You become a cave-person and unwillingly you become a part of the act of deceiving the rest of the nation that things are fine in your city,” said Avni Dhawan, a student of the University of Delhi, discussing the normality of shutdowns in certain areas.

Research by Jan Rydzak, a scholar from Stanford University released a statistical report on internet shutdowns, revealing that these shutdowns compel protesters to resort to violent tactics instead of non-violent ones gave that they are less reliant on effective communication and coordination.

Moving forward, the economic impact of these blackouts is alarming. The cost of internet shutdowns to the economy was around Rs 21,336 crore between 2011 and 2017, according to the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations—a think tank. 

Rajan Matthews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India, said, “Internet shutdown is a blunt instrument and it should not be used frequently. In today’s connected world, when you shut down the internet, people cannot do banking, no transactions take place, people face issues in transportation. It affects daily life to a very large extent and therefore it should be used as a last resort. We have, from time to time, conveyed to the Government that its use should be more surgical.”

Matthews further added, “Instead of using internet shutdown as the first alternative to controlling local problems such as cheating in exams, (as was done thrice within 22 days in Rajasthan), the Government should use other administrative methods to control the problem and use curbs on communication only as a last resort.”

Upon conditions of anonymity, a telecom industry association representative quoted, “It is visible that internet shutdowns don’t stop demonstrations. Nor do they hinder the circulation of rumours. It is estimated that the shutdown of internet services leads to a loss of ?2.45 crore per hour across the value chain.” 

“The other day I was listening to some office workers, who were discussing the internet shutdown and how it discourages firms to work with repeated hindrances. While almost every other work is carried on or through the internet, this has a big impact on the professional domain,” said Faizan Salik, a student of Jamia Millia Islamia commenting on the impact of these shutdowns on the country’s economy.

It is rather fascinating to note that at the Indian Digital Summit, 2014 Prime Minister Modi quoted, “I dream of a Digital India where access to information knows no barriers”. The increasing number of internet shutdowns following his election that year conceptualises his vision of a “Digital India”. 

In September 2019, the Kerala High Court in the landmark case of Faheema Shirin R.K. v. the State of Kerala declared that the Right to Access internet is a basic right which is being violated relentlessly over the past few years. 

Internet blackouts strip people of their Right to Express themselves, their Right to Obtain Information or simply their Right to Communicate with their friends and family. Access to the internet allows people a platform for their voices to be heard in the political spectrum. 

Certainly, denying this access gives the Government excessive control over the dissemination of information and dominance over the narrative. Regular and indiscriminate shutdowns can have chilling effects on free speech in the long run.

These internet shutdowns aren’t merely an inconvenience, they are a hindrance to the already stagnant economic situation of the country. And above that, they are a gross transgression of our fundamental rights- The Right to Information, The Right to Privacy, The Right to Internet Access.

Feature Image Credits: CNN

Aditi Gutgutia

 [email protected]

 After protests in Gargi College campus against the violence endured by students of Jawaharlal Nehru University, and the government’s anti-people policies, the administration prohibited students from protesting in campus premises.

 On 6th January 2020, the students of Gargi College carried out a peaceful protest and discussion in the campus against police brutality in campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and against Citizenships (Amendment) Act (CAA)-National Register of Citizens (NRC). The gathering was supported by the Students’ Union and was attended by students with posters and placards.

However, on behalf of the Principal, Dr. Promila Kumar, the Union Advisor asked for the protest to be shut down as the posters, apparently, were inappropriate. The advisor also asked the students to carry out the discussion indoors and prohibited sloganeering.

As a result, the students of Gargi College proceeded to recite slogans outside their Campus.

 On 7th January, the Principal, then, in a discussion with the protestors, said that no gathering would be permitted without the principal’s written permission.

The administration of the Gargi College released a notice prohibiting students from participating in any protests unapproved by the principal, stating that all students found doing so would be punished. Moreover, the college now requires prior permission from the police for any gathering outside the college.


Official Notice by the administration

The notice read, “All students are hereby informed that no gathering or protest of any form in the college premises is allowed without the prior approval of the Principal. Further, the prior permission is required from the police for any protests/gathering outside the College. In case, any student is found protesting in the College premises, disciplinary action shall be taken against such student. Further, if any student protests outside the college, such students shall be solely responsible for his/her action.”

 Ashwini, an Applied Psychology student of the college says, “The gathering was actually something which was approved and put forward by the Students’ Union for which the permission has been granted. However, seeing this bipolar behaviour has upset me to my very core. My college has always been a safe space for something like this, so this wasn’t really something I expected.”

A student, who wished to remain anonymous, stated, “On one hand, by calling it a form of protection the College administration and Principal wanted the College to remain away from tangible issues, as they feared misrepresentation. At the same while, the students wanted to stand up and speak out together. It became a conflict inside the College itself where the positivity of solidarity transformed into negativity and resentment amongst students, students’ union, and the authorities.”

The Gargi College Student Union, on 10th January, along with college Department Presidents, organised another gathering in support of students and against the acts of brutality, which went on peacefully.

Students and teachers were witnessed reciting Hum Dekhenge, Hum Honge Kaamyab and other songs in solidarity. Members of Upstage, the stage play society of Gargi College also enacted a small performance on the ongoing distress in the Nation. The gathering ended with a recitation of the Preamble of the Constitution.


IMG-20200110-WA0050__01__01 IMG-20200110-WA0049__01__01

Official statement by Students’ Union, Gargi College

Image Credits: Instagram @studentuniongargi


Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Satviki Sanjay

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Students’ Union of Lady Shri Ram College proposes cancelling Tarang, their Annual Cultural Fest in the current political scenario, however, receives arguments on both ends.

In a political scenario as such being faced by the country today- with unpopular bills being enacted into laws, unlawful internet shutdowns being imposed, students widely protesting across the country and many being victims of sheer violence by the Delhi police while others not being protected by them, the Students’ Union of Lady Shri Ram College (LSR) proposed the cancellation of Tarang, the annual cultural fest of the college, which was to be held during the first week of February.

Tarang is a platform for societies to organise inter-college competitions and for students to enjoy pro-nights with popular artists being invited by the Students’ Union. It is a commercialised event where sponsorships are raised to fund these artists (their fee, travel and accommodation), setting up of stages and food-stalls etc.

A General Body Meeting (GBM) was conducted by the Students’ Union on 9th January so as to discuss whether or not Tarang, a celebration, should be hosted in today’s political situation. The GBM entertained arguments from both sides- those who believed Tarang should take place, and those who felt otherwise.

Some of the claims of those against the cancellation of Tarang suggested that this cancellation would be a rather tokenistic action by the college and the students should instead actively participate in protests and carry out dissent during and beyond Tarang. Some believe that cancelling Tarang isn’t enough to represent solidarity if other DU colleges continue to host their annual fests. They believe that this would not guarantee any impact on the government and only be a huge waste of resources.

Students, particularly from performing societies, argued that these societies and the Organising Committee (OC) have worked tirelessly for months preparing for this event and with the cancellation, will also incur a huge financial loss given the sponsorships were raised several months prior. However, they suggested that if this loss is compensated for, they would not have any reservations against cancellation.

Other arguments were presented suggesting using Tarang itself as a platform of expressing dissent via art forms, moulding the agenda and theme of the event so as to make a political statement. They suggested removing the “celebration aspect” of the fest, particularly the pro-night.

These arguments were countered by the claims of students advocating the cancellation of Tarang. It was argued that in this grim scenario where public universities and fellow students are under attack, and where our democracy is in danger, it would be “insensitive” to hold Tarang, while the students of LSR affirm to support the students’ struggles. A commercial fest in such a scenario appears unfitting.

They believe that cancelling Tarang would be the most decent and bare minimum step by the students, making a strong political statement. Given that it is one of the biggest college fests in the country, it would also set a precedent for other colleges to take equally significant political stances in their capacities.

“My personal opinion is that we shouldn’t hold Tarang during these fascist times where students like us are protesting day and night, where brave woman of Shaheen Bagh have taken up the streets leaving the comfort of their homes to raise their voices against what is happening in the country. We cannot justify having a celebration when we do not know what is happening in Kashmir, Assam and people have lost their jobs, degrees, daily wages and lives. Dissent is never comfortable and we, as students of LSR need to look beyond the factor of our enjoyment. Tarang cannot be politicised so anyone believing that we can is just cannot look beyond their apathy, indifference and insensitivity”, quoted Prashansa Singh, Treasurer of LSR’s Students’ Union.

Some students also argue that this commercialised fest has also failed to be inclusive of the marginalised groups. It usually represents a homogeneous culture and most of the food stalls, etc. are not affordable for everyone.

The minutes of this GBM was shared by the Students’ Union across the students of LSR where in the opinion of the union was cited- “The union expressed that they do not feel appropriate to have Tarang at this point, given that it revolves around a sense of enjoyment by having pro nights and food fests. While going to protest is a choice, by cancelling Tarang – a student body initiative the students have the power to make a huge political statement against what’s happening in the country right now. Furthermore, protest and resistance are not meant to be comfortable and convenient. Students’ Union feels that even if Tarang moulds itself as a way of showing active dissent, it would be an appropriation of the protests happening on the streets in an enclosed safe space”.

The Students’ Union has suggested the release of a poll on the matter so as to collect the general opinion of the student body. However, this too is opposed by many students claiming that polls would fail to collect well-versed opinions. Some also argued that by favouring majority vote, we would be basically “oppressing” the minority, leaving no difference between ourselves and the very government we are opposing.

On an Instagram page “overheardlsr”, multiple anonymous messages were received suggesting that the GBM held by the Students’ Union on this issue was highly biased and appeared to be “threatening” to those who supported the hosting of Tarang. The Students’ Union allegedly seemed judgemental against the performing societies and did not allow easy arguments against their own stance.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Aditi Gutgutia 

[email protected] 


On Wednesday, 8th January 2020, students of University of Delhi (DU) gathered in hundreds and took to roads to express their agitation towards the Government in a peaceful protest

Commencing from the Faculty of Arts, North Campus, the March comprised of not only students but teachers and various political organisations as well. This commotion was followed by the immoral series of events that recently took place in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) after similar incidents happened in Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) and Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). Students of DU protested in solidarity with those who were victims of police brutality and hooliganism inside college campuses.

 Maitreyi, member of Pinjra tod said, “DU students came together in large numbers today to send a message to this fascist government that the students and citizens of this country won’t be scared into silence. The terror they have unleashed within universities like Jamia, AMU, and JNU clearly shows that the government fears students and wants to suppress any kind of dissent. The thousands of students that turned up today to protest against this fascist government shows that they’ve failed. Colleges like St. Stephen’s which is deemed to be highly isolated from campus politics and larger politics as well saw that 400 hundred students protested and marched within the campus and then marched towards arts faculty. Most colleges have a turnout of hundreds of students here today. The government has failed to instil fear in students through Delhi police. We will march and we will fight this government every step of the way. we won’t forget Kashmir or the trans bill and demand that this fascist state immediately rolls back the CAA and cancels the NRC/NPR. We will continue to be on the streets until this is done.”

Rain in January’s cold weather didn’t deter the students from expressing their dissent against the Government. The crowd chanted slogans against Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP). Students also showed up with Dhapli (Tambourine), making the protest musical. The outcry of students heard slogans like Inquilab Zindabad and CAA wapis lo (Revoke CAA). The rally covered the entire North Campus with constant energy throughout.

Simran Chawdhary, Member of United Against Hate (Umar Khalid’s organisation) said, “This is against the violence that penetrates on our campuses that are supposed to be our safe spaces for us to debate and deliberate. You can’t enter campuses with lathis and axes and getaway. This fight won’t end until each one of us feels safe. Our campuses are our home and no one will get away with violence. This is against ABVP goons who get funded by the right wing organisations. It’s high time Modi and Amit Shah stop behaving like arrogant goons.”

 At the end of the rally, various speakers took turns to express their resentment against the Government. Gautam Bhatia, renowned advocate spoke about how the recently proposed actions of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) tarnishes the efforts of those great leaders who made India, the Nation it is today. Gulfisha from Seelampur also addressed the crowd and shared with them how she and dozens of other women stand strong even after the atrocities faced by them in Seelampur.

The protest didn’t stay restricted to one cause but rather, different groups of people uprose on different issues and came together to support each other.

Featured Image Credits: Avni Dhawan for DU Beat

Avni Dhawan

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Delhi police detains Kawalpreet Kaur, President, All India Students’ Association (AISA) along with 40 other protesters at Mandir Marg police station after protest at Assam and UP Bhawan against Citizen Amendment Act (CAA).

Kawalpreet Kaur, President, All India Students’ Association (AISA) tweeted on early hours of Monday, December 23, 2019, urging people to gather at UP Bhawan, Delhi at 11 AM to demand the resignation of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath or Ajay Bisht.


The demand was raised after the rising atrocities against Muslims under Yogi Adityanath government. Within a few hours, another update followed, stating, protestors have been brutally assaulted by the Delhi Police and picked up from UP Bhawan. Kaur was dragged by Delhi Police cops from an auto outside the Bhawan, she was thereafter taken to the bus which had only four other women detainees. She was assaulted and eventually dropped off at the Mandir Marg Police Station.


Along with Kaur, over 40+ individuals were detained, however, lawyers arrived on time. Protestors were also picked up from Assam Bhawan who were also taken to Mandir Marg Police Station. 


However, the police denied all allegations and spoke to The New Indian Express, saying “We only arrested the protestors from UP Bhawan after we got the orders. We never detained an innocent.”

Prabhanu Kumar Das, Student of Kirori Mal College who was also detained at Mandir Marg Police Station, says, according to the police, Section 144 was imposed but he said he was there along with only one other person when he got detained. He said, “Police barged the streets and looked for anyone who fit the profile for detention i.e. students.” He further sent an audio saying that he was walking away from the Assam Bhawan but was still detained, “As soon as police started detaining people, we dispersed. However, Police were picking up students in groups of 2 or 4 in far corners of the street and taking them to Mandir Marg Police Station.”


Feature Image Credits: Kawalpreet Kaur on Facebook

Anandi Sen

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Millennials have come out on the streets to fight against the wrongs not just in India but all around the world. Read ahead to find out the reasons for the global protests.


All of us know about the protests going on against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC) in various cities across India. But it is not just the Indians fighting for what is right, but people all around the world are standing up against what they think is wrong, and are demanding change from those in power. This is the reason why Jackson Diehl has termed 2019 as ‘the year of the street protestors’.


It is the season of discontent and unrest in seemingly everywhere. Countries from Lebanon to Spain to Chile, Paris, and India amidst many others are burning with the rage of the protesters who have taken to streets to oppose what they think is wrong. While some are fighting against inequality and corruption, others are fighting for political freedom and climate change. The triggers are different everywhere, but the igniting fuel is similar. It includes stifled democracy, stagnating middle classes and the conviction that things could be different.


In Paris, protestors have been marching on the streets to show their opposition against the controversial pension reform introduced by the government. The country’s complex pension system has been shaken up by Emmanuel Macron, who promised to do so in his 2017 election campaign. The earlier attempts made at reforming the pension scheme were made in 1995 by president Jacques Chirac, but he failed to do so after continuous strikes which continued for three weeks. Paris has been witnessing transport strikes for two weeks and every day lakhs of protestors come out on the streets across France to show their opposition.

Massive waves of protest across Chile, Lebanon, and Egypt were ignited by government’s corruption. Starting in October 2019, the Lebanese asked for the government’s resignation and change of political establishment, after allegations of corruption against the government and its failure to provide basic economic and social rights. Prime Minister Saad Hariri resigned on October 29, 2019, but anti-government demonstrations are still going on in the country.


The protests in Chile started after a hike in transport fare was announced by the government. It started in October 2019 and is still going on. The mass anti-government protests in Chile are organised to denounce the high costs of living, privatisation of water, rising electricity prices and other social issues. The politicians reached an agreement on November 15, to organize a referendum in April 2020 where Chileans will vote whether to replace the current charter of rights (Magna Carta) from Pinochet’s dictatorship and for a new legislative assembly.

In Guinea, opposition activists have been staging demonstrations since October 14, 2019. They allege that President Alpha Condé, who has been in power since 2010, is positioning himself to change the constitutionto then run for a third presidential term in late 2020. Condé has publicly called for a constitutional referendum on December 19.


In Hong Kong, protests began over a bill that would have allowed criminal suspects to be extradited to mainland China in certain circumstances. The mass action in Hong Kong in the summer of 2019 led to the withdrawal of the controversial legislation, but the protests themselves continued. The demands of the protesters have now expanded to include complete universal suffrage, an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality, and amnesty for demonstrators who have been arrested.


The widespread protests going on in India against the Citizenship Amendment Act have gained global attention. Students from various universities along with other people have been coming out to the streets each day to show their opposition to the act, which they consider to be unconstitutional and islamophobic since December 4, 2019. The protests began in the north-eastern states and spread to all the other regions. India currently is witnessing a period of turmoil, which might lead the world’s largest democracy into shambles, with the government using anti-democratic means to deal with the protestors throughout the country. Although, the imposition of Section 144 CrPC, curfew, lathi charges by police and internet ban in various places has not reduced the rage in the blood of protestors.


The use of tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets have been some of the common practices adopted by the authorities to suppress the protests in all the cities throughout the world. But, it is still not enough to suppress the voice of today’s youth, which is burning with rage.


Feature Image Credits: ANI

Priya Chauhan

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The past week has seen turmoil over the matter of attendance and the issuance of admit cards to the students of the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College for Women, and Hindu College.

Affiliated to the University of Delhi and located in Punjabi Bagh, the college boasts of a rich legacy of more than fifty years in serving quality education to young women.

According to a series of posts on social media, as well as first-hand student accounts, the administration and Principal of Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College refused to give admit cards ahead of the University semester exams scheduled in November and December months, to the students who had been irregular in classes during the past semester. This move by the college administration has been taken on account of their attendance being less than the minimum mark of sixty-seven percent (67%), as specified by the University. 

Moreover, as per the students, the Principal is not willing to accept any medical certificates or submission of leave applications. The students have also said that the college authorities have made it clear to the students that they will have to spend four years (i.e. 3+1 years) to complete their degree, in light of this decision. 

In response to these decisions, the students of the college, led by Tushar Baisla, the Chief Executive Councillor (EC) of the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU), raised their voices and organised a sit-in at the college gate to demand for their admit cards. The ABVP-backed student leader’s posts on social media regarding this matter read ‘…she (the Principal) said in front of all the students that she will charge a case of molestation to me and rusticate students who are asking for the admit card. I request upper authorities to have a look at this matter so that students of the college do not face any problem.”

A final year Economics Honours student of the college, who chose to be anonymous, said, “They (the college administration) should have warned us, they cannot take arbitrary decisions.”

A final word from the college is awaited on this matter. 

A similar situation was also faced by the students of Hindu College, where those having less than forty percent (40%) attendance during the semester, were denied admit cards. However, the admit cards were given to the students by November 25th, 2019, after the ‘Collective – Hindu College’ planned to address the college authorities, on this matter. 

As per the message that had been circulated on WhatsApp groups by the Collective, ‘withholding of admit cards by the Hindu College administration, has happened for the first time, no prior information was given to the students about this intention of the administration in the beginning of the semester. Thus, no due process of issuing a warning to students was followed by the administration, as mandated by the University.”

Notably, students active in the performing arts society were targeted by the administration, to much agitation and revulsion. The nation-wide representation of the college, made possible by dramatics, dance, and music societies was levelled down as the parents and concerned guardians of these students were alerted via unsolicited calls. The administration went to the extent of suggesting the parents to remove their wards from the respective societies and instead enforce academic aspirations. It was only after this performative disciplinarian action that the students were given their admit cards, however, not without signing an undertaking first.

While on the one hand, the issue seems to be resolved by the Hindu College administration, uncertainty still looms over the decision in Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College. 

Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express

Bhavya Pandey 

[email protected] 

The Delhi University Teacher’s Association (DUTA) held an emergent meeting at Tuesday, 24th October 2019 to discuss the varsity’s twin move to create an “Institute of Eminence” within it and replace its various statutory bodies like Executive Council by an all-powerful Board of Governors.

DUTA had a meeting wherein recent issues of key importance were discussed. The meeting’s main motive was to formalise the arguments against the decision and submit the same to the University Administration expressing their concerns while also highlighting the possible consequences.

The concept of the institute of eminence is taken as a pathway for better education, however, a thorough understanding of the label is required. Here is an explanation of the same.

The status of institute of eminence will take place with the formation of 9 autonomous centres and the replacement with a separate board of directors. The exercise in creating a separate list of Institutions is geared towards promoting a special economic zone for Higher Education brands that may pursue commercial aims with impunity and without any public accountability, said DUTA. The organisation was responding to the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry decision to grant ‘Institutes of Eminence’ status to 6 institutions.

Along with the University of Delhi, the government granted ‘Institutions of Eminence’ (IoEs) status to IIT-Delhi, IIT-Bombay and the Bengaluru-based Indian Institute of Science (IISc) in the public sector, and Manipal Academy of Higher Education, BITS Pilani and Jio Institute by Reliance Foundation in the private sector.

Talking about IOE, to give the institute of eminence within the University of Delhi (DU) will lead to disintegration. DUTA’s discussion was pointed towards how currently, the entire University has been awarded the status of IoE, and it is shared by all the institutions, faculty members and stakeholders jointly. But once an independent parallel structure within it is declared as IoE, it will receive the entire limelight and government patronage leading to disintegration of unity among the institutions.

The DUTA is also opposing the University Administration’s decision to do away with the current administrative or statutory bodies of the university such as the Executive Council and Academic Council with an all-powerful Board of Governors. University has decided to advance the timeline of setting up a Board of Governors in line with the New Education Policy 2019, because of the following reasons:

The new Board of Governors will not be accountable to anyone within the university. Instead, the Board of Governors will only be accountable to the Rashtriya Shiksha Aayog, which is a cause for concern. In addition to this, the members of the Board of Governors will be nominated and not elected, from outside the university, which again calls for caution.

Talking about the advancement of plans to implement the Draft New Education Policy from 2020 to October 2019 itself, DUTA said, “This timeline seeks to do away with the statutory bodies like Executive Council, Academic Council, departmental councils and college staff council by the constitution of all-powerful BOGs (Board of Governors).”

DU is going to implement this BOG-ruled autonomous structure within the varsity in the  garb of eminence, where this institute would receive a grant of INR 1000 crore in 10 years from the Centre directly and their matters will never undergo the critical scrutiny from the EC, AC or Finance Committee which raises a bigger motive for privatization.

“The ’eminence’ tag is being used to dismantle the university when the government money should have benefited the entire university and improved its infrastructure” DUTA said allegedly.

The question is hand is why the university administration is taking such dire steps, going against their unions to implement this.

In a conversation with Abha Dev Habib, Office bearer, DUTA, she told DU Beat, as an answer to the above question, “It’s all just a big facade for privatization, commercialisation and corporatization of education. Whether they call it graded university, new education policy or institute of eminence, it’s just privatization, where there will be fee hikes, all in the name of profit.” She also said, “There will be a serious loss of accountability and greater disintegration.”

DUTA also criticized the way some private institutions have been selected as Institutes of Eminence.

The Government had received more than 100 applications for the grant of IoE status. Under Public Sector, the following have applied for the scheme-

  • 10 central universities
  • 25 state universities
  • 6 deemed to be universities
  • 20 institutions of national importance
  • 6 standalone institutions

As for the private sector, 9 private universities and 16 deemed to be universities have applied in the Brownfield category and 8 institutions have applied in the Greenfield category.

Existing standalone institutions which are not universities or deemed-to-be-varsities were allowed to apply under Greenfield category for Institution of Eminence status to avail greater autonomy and get a world-class reputation.

DUTA has been quite vocal in presenting their resentment against the proposal. Many staff associations along with students throughout the varsity have protested against this proposal and the new education policy.

Where colleges like Ramjas college went on a ten-day dharna, other colleges like Gargi college and Kamla Nehru college formed a human chain to show their resistance.


Staff association and students of Gargi college and Kamala Nehru College come together and form a long queue of protest against the privatization of University of Delhi with slogans like “Education is not for sale”. Video by Avni Dhawan for DU Beat

After the emergent meeting that took place on Tuesday where all the arguments were formalised, DUTA has rejected the proposal. It was rejected on the grounds that it involves a push towards privatisation of education as confessed by Mr. Prakash Javadekar while announcing it for the first time as Graded Autonomy for universities and grant of IoE status. He had confessed that these steps constitute the initiation of liberalisation in the education sector.

“It also gives the University the freedom to determine fees for domestic students subject to one meaningless rider. The rider is a principle that no one will be turned away for his/her incapacity to pay. In the absence of any guideline on how high the fees are and the means criteria to be entitled to fee waiver/scholarship. Loans binding their future would become the only effective mechanism.” said DUTA in their press release.

The DUTA Executive also took a decision to call for a Total Shutdown of the University on Friday, 25th October 2019 and a Dharna from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. outside the Executive Council meeting to protest against this move and also to demand the withdrawal of the 28th August 2019 letter asking for guest appointments to be made against all new vacancies.

Feature Image Credits: Abha Dev Habib

Chhavi Bahmba

[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

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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.

Feature Image Credits: Sabrang India

Bhavya Pandey

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