In an emergent meeting held on 3rd July, the Hindu College Staff Association (HCSA) passed a unanimous resolution to remove the officiating Principal, Dr. Anju Srivastava, Dr. Ashok Mittal, and Chairman of Governing Body, Mr. S.N.P. Punj.

In the press release, the Staff Association has requested the Vice Chancellor of the University of Delhi (DU) to take the administration of the college from Hindu Education Trust to be changed into a university-run college. They have also appealed the Vice Chancellor to expand the Governing Body (GB) by bringing in more academics and teachers of the university.

HCSA has stated that it will approach authorities deemed appropriate by the executive to inform them of the tactics employed by the Chairman for his past moves for acquiring autonomy and a ‘Deemed University’ status. HCSA will not be restricted just to the Vice Chancellor, Delhi University, University Grants Commission Chairperson, Ministry of Human Resource Development, and Prime Minister’s Office.

In 2016, Chairman S.N.P. Punj had written to IAS Mr. Tarun Bajaj and Mr. Brijesh Pandey of Prime Minter’s Office seeking expansion and re-structuring of the college into The School of Sciences, School of Languages, and School of Social Sciences. In the letter, he proposed to start professional programs like B.Sc Microbiology, B.Sc Nanoscience, B.A. in Financial Services, B.A. in International Relations, and eight others on a self-financing basis. Some fundamental level courses like Environment and Public Health, Mind and Behaviour, and Governance and Citizenship were also suggested.  According to his plan, a chain of colleges would have opened in Haryana, Rajasthan, and Punjab under the Hindu College banner.

The matter escalated for the HCSA when it was found that the Chairman had applied to the Prime Minister’s Office for executive intervention to convert the college into a deemed university last year, which would speed up the process of expanding the brand name. The proposal was undertaken without the knowledge, consent, and mandate of the staff council and other GB members.

The President and Secretary of the HCSA have been threatened in the past with show cause notices for protesting against the proposed sale of the college to the highest bidder by the GB. Such steps were bound to lead to higher fees, more expensive hostels, lower academic standards, and dilution of constitutional equal opportunity norms.

In conversation with DU Beat, Professor Atul Gupta, Assistant Professor of Commerce, and Secretary of the Staff Association commented, “The teachers have been protesting against autonomy for two years and the Principal and the Chairman of the Governing Body have kept them in the dark. They are ready to sell the college and use the Hindu College brand name to earn money at the cost of students and teachers. My only appeal is to the students of the University to join the dharna from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Hindu College premises because this is the time to safeguard our colleges from getting prvitised.”

Kawalpreet Kaur, President of All India Students’ Association (AISA) Delhi, has vouched for AISA’s full support to Hindu College professors and their demands. She has claimed that the Principal and GB Chairman lied to the students and professors and secretly colluded with the government, it is completely illegal and unfair that important stakeholders were left out and not consulted, she remarked.

The HCSA will be sitting on the dharna for seven working days starting 4th July. If the authorities fail to concede to the demands, the HCSA will escalate the method of protest. On the last day of the dharna, a press conference will be held. A campaign on social media by the college has already begun under the hashtag, #SmashAutonomy.


Feature Image Credits: Hindu College Staff Association

Prachi Mehra

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