Kirori Mal College (KMC) administration stops concerned students from protesting on campus due to lack of administrative approval, allegedly said that such events will not be allowed to take place on campus.
After days of sustained communal violence in parts of Northeast Delhi, instigated by Hindutva goons and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders such as Kapil Mishra against the Muslim communities in the area, concerned students from KMC decided to hold a protest gathering in the canteen lawn at 12:40 PM on 26th February 2020. This protest was however not allowed to carry on. After initial sloganeering against the communal violence and calling for the arrest of Kapil Mishra, who had incited the violence, the protesters were confronted by Dr. Vibha Singh Chauhan, the Principal of Kirori Mal College.
The Principal ordered for the protest to be stopped citing lack of approval from the administration. She can be heard in a video recording dismissing one of the protesters who pointed out that the process for approval was not available and easy for common students, which she refuted saying that the process is available and these events should be held only with approval.
Lakshay Talwar, a third-year Political Science student who was part of the protest said that it was called to march around campus to collectivize people to show the gravity of the situation and to build some resources in the form of people willing to help. He says that when they were confronted by the Principal, the students tried to negotiate saying that they will conduct a silent march which was not allowed.
Talwar, along with two other protesters held a meeting with the Principal in her room. He describes the events as follows, “She initially is adamant about the fact that they need to take permission because if they don’t, other groups can see it as a means to instigate violence, which is absurd considering that it was a peace march. After which, when asked for permission to hold a peace march on the next day with prior intimation, the Principal denied them permission going back on her previous statement. The reasoning given by her was the safety of the students and avoiding violence.”
Lakshay said that they pointed out that collectivization in campus spaces is a means of safety as Kashmiri and Muslim students on campus already don’t feel safe, and that it is already the administration’s responsibility to make sure that violence does not occur. The Principal continued to deny the responsibility of the administration for the safety of the students. Lakshay stated that when they pointed out dissent is a democratic exercise, the Principal replied with, “If you think this is undemocratic, so be it but I am not granting you permission, you do it outside of college.” The problem with doing it outside of college is more dangerous to the student’s safety from right-wing groups, a responsibility which the Principal refused to take today.
DU Beat has reached out to the college for comments on the matter, to which there has been no reply. This report will be updated if they comment on this issue.
Featured Image Credits: Anonymous
DU Beat Correspondent