Members of National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) Delhi protested against the violence instigated in Delhi outside Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s residence.

On Tuesday, 25th February 2020, members of National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) Delhi protested against the violence instigated outside Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal’s residence. Also, NSUI members raised slogans against Delhi violence at Lieutenant Governor’s residence in the wee hours of morning, around 1:30 a.m.  Following this, NSUI members were detained by Delhi Police, as per the Press Release released by them on the same day.

NSUI activists organised a peace march to protest against Delhi violence from Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) office at Faculty of Arts, North Campus. Delhi University students joined NSUI activists and participated in the peace march by holding the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in hand.

Ashish Lamba , Secretary of Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) from NSUI said, “The NSUI activists protested at Lieutenant Governor’s house in Civil Lines regarding the violence which took place in Delhi and the Lieutenant Governor still did not respond and kept himself as a mute spectator. We were detained at Civil Lines Police Station. In the evening NSUI led DUSU also took out a Shanti candle march from DUSU office to Arts Faculty in order to appeal for peace.”

NSUI members stated, “It is a pre-planned conspiracy by BJP leaders. This violence and atrocities against minorities and Dalits has been raised and now we can see the riots on minorities and Dalits. NSUI will keep its fight against such violence and will spread Mahatma Gandhi ‘s Ahimsa Marg among the people of India.” NSUI demanded Home Minister Amit Shah’s resignation and asked him to step down from the ministry.

Feature Image Credits: DU Beat

Paridhi Puri

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Colleges for Climate Action organised a climate action march at Arts Faculty, North Campus, University of Delhi (DU) on 1st November to stand in solidarity against climate change. 

The march began from Gate Four of the Arts Faculty, and was concluded at Gate three of Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station. Students from various colleges gathered at the Arts Faculty gate with masks on their faces, posters in their hands, and intent in their hearts. 

Slogans like “What do we want? Climate Justice. When do want it? Right Now.”; “Climate Change se Azadi”; “As there is no Earth B!” were chanted while matching forward. All the posters and structures held by students were made out of reusable materials. 

The main motive of Colleges for Climate Change, as told by the organisers was to “provide a convenient campus solution to college students to get involved in the fight against crisis.”

“Even though many people may not turn up on one day, march at institutions worldwide help to raise our voice against this as a community as a whole,” they added. 

The march concluded at the Vishvavidyalaya metro station where the students orchestrated a fake die, on the sounds of raging sirens to symbolise the urgency of a required climate emergency, as otherwise, this will be the clear end.

Sharda, student of Environment Sciences said, “People think they don’t know what to do for climate crisis, they don’t know how to contribute, but there is so much they can do, join strikes, use the public transport, make dire lifestyle changes and even quit meat.” 

After the fake die, students sat in at the Vishwavidyalaya metro station to share their stories of how they’ve contributed to climate action, they sang songs to promote solidarity through harmony and recounted various ways to contribute to climate action. 

The women specially from colleges, were seen leading the strike. Just like the global strike pattern, this March definitely had a women’s and young adult narrative. The protest was said to be apolitical, but asking for a political discourse. A Climate Crisis Act lies in the hands of those in power. Their negligence, by not declaring climate emergency and much more is what had let many to protest earlier. But, this protest was said to be apolitical. 

Pragya, a Hindu College student said, “We’re saying this is apolitical as we don’t pertain to any political ideology or are not affiliated to any political party, as climate crisis is an issue for the entire world and not just any political party.”

The march also emphasised on scrap the straw movement, with mentioning the petition which each college could fill out to ban use of all single use straws and plastic. 

Feature Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat 

Chhavi Bahmba 

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Women across India marched together to claim their constitutional rights as the citizens of a
democratic republic.

On  4th April 2019, women across all ages, religions and social classes came together to voice their collective dissent against the current government and their propagation of a politics of violence and hatred. The march began at Mandi House and was carried on till Jantar Mantar. The march was a part of a larger movement in India titled ‘Women March for Change’.

The movement represents the outrage that women and other marginalized communities have been facing since the last five years and their attempts to cement their position as equal stakeholders of democracy and the political process.The march was followed by a program which included speeches and performances of various groups and collectives across Delhi-NCR. There were student feminist groups, tribal right activists, gender rights activists, dalit feminists groups, female farmer groups to name a few. This revolutionary march witnessed diversity of voices and was a big milestone for the Indian feminist movement and the Indian social justice movement. The call for solidarity stated, “For the last five years, women of India have watched with growing anger as our struggles for equality have been dented and our hard-won freedoms undermined. We have watched misogyny, hate and lies being spread across the land. Today, on the eve of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, we say no more.”

Prominent student groups present in the march were members of  Pinjra Tod, Women Development Cells of Lady Shri Ram College, Indraprastha College and Miranda House. When asked about their personal motivations for attending the march, students spoke about a range of issues referring to the political climate of the day. “There is a constant invisibalization of women’s struggles, politicians include us in their policies, Rahul Gandhi says the Womens’ Reservation Bill will be passed, but it only a tokenistic gesture. It’s high time for us to claim public spaces,” said Deeksha, a second-year student from Delhi College of Arts and Commerce. Some also spoke of their personal struggles and sought to join the fight against the patriarchal structure, “We don’t have any freedom, even today my father tells me what not to wear, where to not go and so on. We need to get over this mindset,” said a student from Lady Shri Ram College.

Students also expressed concerns about the representation of women in politics, both in policy decisions and at important positions in the country. A student pointed out that even with three female cabinet ministers, important press conferences and announcements are always done by the male members of the cabinet citing the example of Shri. Arun Jaitley addressing the crowd after Balakot strike. “It’s disheartening to see women in politics only being referred to as somebody’s amma (mother), beti (daughter) or behen (sister). In my constituency, a female candidate was contesting for the assembly seat but the posters had pictures of her husband,” another complained.

A major concern for all the students was the condition of minorities under the current government. Most felt that although it was predominantly a women’s march, it stood for equality. It sought to dismantle a system that has been controlled by a specific section of the population whose policies and ideas made it dangerous for minorities to live in the country. Jaya Sharma, who works for a non- profit fighting for the rights of adivasi women said, “It’s extremely scary for all of us, I’m an upper caste, upper class Hindu woman and even for me the implications are scary. We cannot even begin to imagine the extent of fear that minorities feel. If there is anything we can do to stop them from coming to power again, we should do it.”

Although it was a big milestone for the feminist movement, it was very rare to see this scale of intersectionality in representation. A lot of students agreed to the fact that because of the social class they belonged to and the universities they attended, their feminism was not necessarily inclusive enough. “That is why it’s important to come to spaces like these where you get to see the larger picture. The correct way to participate  is to be conscious of the things you are saying, conscious of music you are listening to, to be aware on a day to day basis, to reflect on your mistakes and apologize. I think it’s a process,” said Sharon from Jesus and Mary College when asked about how she ensures inclusivity in her feminism. Amala from O.P Jindal Global University added, “I try to constantly read other voices from communities who don’t necessarily occupy a big place in society and therefore try to take myself out of the echo- chamber and try to encourage other people to do that as well. Obviously our university spaces are very elite and privileged, but we have to ensure that we’re exposed to other voices as well.”

The march and in extension, the movement is being carried out with the hope of carving out a distinct and powerful voice in the political scenario. “I would like to be heard. This is more of a pre-election forum for women to voice their struggles and to make it known to people that they are a force in the country “ said a student when asked what she hoped would be the outcome of the march. ‘Save our Constitution’, was what the biggest banner in the march said and it was reflective of the palpable fear that all the participants held. The actions of the current government has attacked the core values of our constitution that it had affected every single community that lived in the country.

Feature Image Credits: Pragati Thapa for DU Beat.

Pragati Thapa

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A ‘Bharat Bandh’ was organised on 5th March, Tuesday in protest against the 13 point roster system of teachers’ appointments and the Supreme Court order on tribal evictions. Various organisations, parties and leaders supported it.

Thousands of students, teachers, political figures and Dalit and Adivasi activists, among others, marched in different parts of the country demanding ordinances by the government against the 13 point roster system of faculty appointments and the recent Supreme Court order on evictions of tribal and forest dwellers.

5 March marked the one year anniversary of the 13 point roster system, the notification for which was first made by the University Grants Commission (UGC) on 5 March 2018, following an April 2017 order by the Allahabad High Court.

The 13 point roster system had been one of the major focal points of university protests over the last few months. Teachers and students alike had been protesting against the system, which was seen as a measure that could drastically reduce the number of SC/ST/OBC teachers in universities.

The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) had held sustained protests over the last few weeks including organising a human chain, a candlelight vigil and a “total strike” demanding an ordinance by the government to restore the old 200 point roster system.

Another controversial issue had been the 13 February Supreme Court order directing the states to evict those tribals and forest dwellers whose claims over forest land were rejected as per the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act of 2006. However, hearing pleas from the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry and the Gujarat government, the apex court put a stay on its order on 28 February. The initial order was expected to affect over 11 lakh tribals and forest dwellers.

Despite the stay, Dalit and Adivasi rights’ organisation – wary of the possibility that the stay order could get overturned – called for the Bandh, demanding an ordinance from the centre to protect their rights.

The call for the Bandh drew widespread support from various political parties. According to a press release made by DUTA on Tuesday, “prominent opposition leaders like Ali Anwar, Manoj Jha (RJD), Nilotpal Basu (CPI[M]), Kiran Walia (INC) etc” joined the association’s rally, which also “drew support from the Left parties, Samajwadi Party, Aam Aadmi Party and Bhim Army.”

According to Times of India, Adivasi Adhikar Andolan, All India Ambedkar Mahasabha and Samvidhan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti were among the groups which had called for a march from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Tuesday.

Other organisations like All India Forum for Social Justice, All India Forum for Right to Education, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan etc were also a part of the protests.

As reported by The Indian Express, Ashok Bharti from the All India Ambedkar Mahasabha said, “Most leaders except for (BSP chief) Mayawati have supported the issues we raised; there has been no statement from her or her party. If the government fails to bring in either of the two ordinances before the model code of conduct is announced, we will declare our further course of action.”

Several political leaders including Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Manoj Jha, Tejashwi Yadav, Ram Vilas Paswan tweeted or gave statements backing the protests, the report also said.

‘#5MarchBharatBandh’ trended widely on Twitter with over 30 thousand tweets by the night of 4 March.

Responding to the protests, Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar on Tuesday said, “Few groups have decided to agitate. I would like to assure them that they need not agitate, the government will do justice. We will bring the 200-point reservation roster and how we will do it will be clear within two days,” PTI reported.

Prior to this, the Supreme Court had rejected a special leave petition by the HRD Ministry against the Allahabad High Court’s order, following which it also dismissed a review petition filed by the Ministry.

The DUTA press release also mentioned that the association would await the government’s response and review its strike programme on 8 March, Friday.

Ms Abha Dev Habib, former Executive Councillor of Delhi University, while speaking to DU Beat, said, “It is important to have constitutionally mandated representation in teaching positions. Department-wise roster will mean that not only the first generation of teachers from ST/SC and OBC will be pushed out but also aspiring researchers and students will not find space in colleges and universities. This is so to keep them out from knowledge production and opportunity of leadership roles. The whole idea of reservation was to bring marginalised sections to the mainstream to strengthen democracy.”

Asked about whether the protests went as she had expected, Ms Habib said that she came back “full of optimism” as the “young are determined to fight for their rights!”

Feature Image credits – Abha Dev Habib, DUTA

Prateek Pankaj
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Yesterday, an Asmita march was taken out by NSUI to speak out against the recent cases of crime against women and to demand greater safety for women in the varsity.

NSUI took out a march from the Faculty of Arts, University of Delhi (DU) yesterday. The protest aimed to speak out against the rising crime against women. The recent Asifa and Unnao rape cases and the subsequent silence around them compelled them to take out a march, claimed members. Slogans like “Chatron ke sammaan mein, NSUI maidan mein (NSUI is out to protect the rights of students” were raised at the march.
Present at the march were DUSU President and Vice President Rocky Tuseed and  Kunal Sehrawat respectively. NSUI National President, Fairoz Khan was also present along with Deepender Singh Hooda, Member of Parliament. However, the protest was not confined to the Asifa and Unnao cases. The safety of women around campus and the need to implement ICC laws across the University were talked about.

Apart from the implementation of ICC laws, the march demanded installation of CCTV cameras outside girl’s colleges and demanded that a female constable be present outside all colleges to curb stalking and eve teasing. After the march reached the faculty of arts again, a small delegation from NSUI including the Rocky Tusseed, Kunal Sehrawat, Akshay Lakha, and Fairoz Khan met Dean Students’ Welfare, Professor Rajesh Tandon. The delegation presented a memorandum that put forth all the demands raised by the marching body. a detailed discussion on the failure of the administration to make the campus a safer place for women also took place. Fairoz Khan while talking to Professor Tandon expressed his plight at the state of the well-being of women in the Varsity by saying “If DU cannot lead the country, if we the leading institution in the country cannot set an example and be a role model, then it is a shame.” The demand for self-defence classes to be held across the varsity was also put up. The delegation rationed that they had promised the student body of DU CCTV cameras and a safer and secure campus and that they are obligated to ensure that these demands are met.

Approximately 350 students were present at the march; however, women constituted a small fraction of the same. The protest which lasted around two hours remained peaceful and non-disruptive. Heavy deployment of police officials across the campus ensured that the march was carried out smoothly. NSUI leaders claimed that they would take out another march on the same scale, within 10 days, if their requests were ignored by the administration.

Kinjal Pandey

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Feature Image Credits – Pinjra Tod

Lately across the country, in the absence of a notable opposition decisions of the establishment, students have taken it upon themselves to stand up to the authoritarian policies. Lately, the spur of student movements in the JNU, DU, University of Hyderabad and other campuses has also spiked up the enthusiasm in other Universities where student politics have been suspended for long for the revival of Student Politics and the demand of Student Union elections. On Thursday, students of Jamia Milia Islamia University staged a protest march and submitted a memorandum to the Vice-Chancellor Talat Ahmad demanding the restoration of the Student Union and demand of elections.

Eleven years back, the University had suspended the Student Union on the account of student leaders interfering with the administrative process of the University in 2006. The Union was disbanded after a scuffle broke out between the union president and the proctor over the former having a say in the allotment of hostel seats, which the university was not willing to agree to. Later in the year 2011, Hameed Ur Rahman, a student approached Delhi High Court for the matter. Najeeb Jung, who was the VC during that period told the court that the environment was not conducive for polls.

Recently the students have formed a Joint Action Committee (JAC) with members from various students bodies’ including the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI), Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti, All India Students’ Association and Jamia Students’ Forum to raise the demand for a Union. Speaking to a major national daily, students of the JAC said that they would “resort to democratic means of protest” in case the varsity does not meet the deadline of announcing a date for the polls.

However, the administration on receiving the memorandum said that the university had no objections to the formation of a students’ union but it could not give the go-ahead as the matter was sub judice. Talat Ahmad, the vice chancellor of the University who is known to be personally in favour of having a student’s union said, “When the matter is in court, I cannot take decisions that would end up in contempt of court.”

The University which has a rich past of student activism during the freedom movement remains an environment devoid of a students’ voice today.

Interestingly, Jamia has a strong union of teachers and non-teaching staff.

Image Credits: jamiajournal.com


Srivedant Kar

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