“Our democracy will not sustain if we can’t guarantee freedom of speech and expression,” PM Narendra Modi said in June 2014. But the recent police action against protestors showcases that in India what you preach is not what you practice. 

Our country is currently being rocked by protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in various places. Although there exist divided views on the issue, the major concern that has arisen is the importance of expressing dissent in a democracy and the biased stance of the police in the matter. 

Dissent can be defined as non-agreement with an idea, policy or entity. Democracy sustains and strengthens because of its ideals as well as voicing the collective will and diversity in views. It is only through acts of dissent that we can truly assess the efficacy of a democratic system. But in recent times, any kind of objection to the current government or its policies are blatantly termed as ‘Anti-national and seditious’ by the government, members of the ruling party and some other organisations. A large number of people who have criticised the government policies or even Modi, have either been arrested or brutally trolled on various social media platforms. Student protests against CAA – NRC have been ridiculed as immaturity and propaganda of the opposition. In places like Jamia Millia Islamia, Aligarh Muslim University, Assam, etc. non-violent protests have been aggressively curbed using police force. 

The matter in question is not whether these policies and decisions are worthwhile, but the growing intolerance towards any form of opposition or disagreement to the popular decision and the police using its powers in a prejudiced manner. Scores of images, videos and other evidence have come up that have questioned the integrity of ‘kanoon ke rakhwale (Law Keepers)’. Victims of police brutality have shared horrific accounts of how they were detained on falsified charges, abused and even labelled as ‘Pakistanis’. This clampdown on civil society activists and critical minds is not a recent phenomenon. For instance, in the Bhima-Koregaon case of 2018, activists speculated to have Maoist links were arrested. Later, a fact-finding committee found that Hindu extremist groups planned Bhima-Koregaon riots, but the police targeted the activists due to pressure from the state government to protect the perpetrators. The recent transfer of the case to NIA by the Home Ministry raises further questions. Same accusations have been levied during CAA protests as the police raised their lathis and guns against some groups of protestors only. Hostility of the police is often justified on the grounds of maintaining peace and unity and colonial era laws of sedition and criminal defamation are used as crutches to support the lies. This rampant silencing by police is worrying and aggravates dubiety – whether the scales of justice always favour the privileged and the majority. 

Nurturing dogma, which restraints criticism and disapproval, will surely befall great doom upon our country. With increasing education and awareness, the police cannot act as bigoted individuals, launch a ‘witch – hunt’ on a sectarian basis and then expect the people to stay mum. 

 A democracy is prosperous when it comprises active citizens who dissent against the unjust and express their devotion and respect towards its ideals through nonviolent means and in turn, the government and its agencies too welcome their revolutionary views. That is when we become truly free and enjoy the true essence of our existence as a human. 

‘The Constitution gives us a voice

to raise against any unjust.

But they try to steal our choice

and tell us, to their whims we must adjust.

No longer will we be played as toys

cos it’s time to rise and voice our dissent.’


Image Credits: Manav Ahuja and Jassman for DU Beat

Ipshika Ghosh 

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The gruesome tale of the murder of a student of Delhi University (DU). Read more to find out.

Dhirendra Charan, a resident of Faridabad City was arrested by Faridabad Police on Monday. This arrest was related to the murder of Sandeep Vaishnav, a 25-year student, studying in School of Open Learning, Delhi University.

According to the police, Dhirendra had killed Sandeep after he found out that his niece was being harassed by Sandeep. Hence, with a feeling of vengeance, the accused invited the victim for some drinks and later killed him. Sandeep’s parents had also told the police that he had informed them about his meeting with Dhirendra before leaving. The body was spotted by some locals near an old factory at IMT Industrial Area in Faridabad.

In his confession, Dhirendra pleaded guilty and stated that after some drinks in his Santro car, he hit Dhirendra on his head with a baton, thus, knocking him unconscious. Following this, Dhirendra ran over the body with his car and then dumped the dead body near an old factory. The police under the command of CIA DLF Inspector Sajiv, nabbed the accused from Sahupura which is around 17 kilometres from the site of the murder. Dhirendra had fled to Sahupura after he killed Sandeep. When the police caught him, the accused was under the influence of alcohol.

The Faridabad Police was able to catch the accused within six hours after the body was spotted. The police have stated that Dhirendra has been charged with the appropriate IPC Sections for murder and further investigation is underway. Sandeep used to live with his parents in Faridabad.

Featured Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Aniket Singh Chauhan

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Late 6th October night, a father received a purported video of his daughter on WhatsApp with her hands and legs tied with repeated cries of “mujhe chhor do”. A case was registered in the Adarsh Nagar police station.

A first-year correspondence student from Delhi University (DU) left her home in Adarsh Nagar on Sunday to attend classes at a DU college, but instead, she went to Purana Quila with her friends. She lied to her father over the phone stating she was outside her college. He demanded to show him the college building on a video call. She panicked and hung up after which she avoided her parents’ calls and spent the night ahead at her friend’s house. 

Fearing that her parents would discover her bunking college, and scold her for the same, the 18-year-old orchestrated her own kidnapping. Late Sunday night, the father received a purported video of his daughter on WhatsApp with her hands and legs tied with repeated cries of “mujhe chhor do (leave me). A case under IPC Section 365 (kidnapping) was registered in the Adarsh Nagar police station. The girl’s phone was put under technical surveillance, while teams were formed to look for her. 

Her parents received a call from a passerby in Old Delhi’s Ballimaran area on Monday stating that their daughter was crying on the street. However, she had asked the man to call them up. 

While questioning, she alleged to the police that she was kidnapped by four-five men on Sunday evening who took her to a jungle. “She couldn’t point out the location and said that at night when the men slept off, she escaped. When she was prodded a bit more, she confessed that she had made up the story,” said DCP (North West) Vijayanta Arya to The Indian Express. The woman made a video of herself in distress with hands and legs tied with the help of a friend. 

A similar incident took place in Mumbai, March 2018 when a Class IX student faked his kidnapping and sexual assault after bunking to escape punishment from his parents and school. 

Feature Image Credits: Metronation

Anandi Sen

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The woman who was reported to have conducted a series of thefts from Delhi University’s Shri Ram College of Commerce (SRCC) was arrested by the police on 2nd October.

A 34-year-old woman hailing from Nagpur, Maharashtra was arrested three weeks after the case of theft was reported from SRCC.

During the questioning she revealed that she had conducted similar thefts across colleges in metropolitan cities like Delhi and Mumbai as she “liked doing them”.

As per a senior police officer’s statement from The Indian Express, her arrest was made on 2nd October when she created commotion outside a hostel in Mukherjee Nagar, Delhi wherein she was denied entry by the guards. The issue escalated to an extent that a PCR call was made. Her actions were aggressive and unstable, observing which she was referred to the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS).

It was during her time at IHBAS that the police realised she was the same person responsible for the theft at SRCC and thus the police arrested her once she was released from IHBAS.

The woman had allegedly come inside the hostel rooms and stolen cash worth INR 3,000 and credit cards from which according to the police, transactions worth INR 50,000 were done.

The case was registered at the Maurice Nagar police station in North Delhi. According to the police, she was visiting Delhi and when she ran out of money, she went on to conduct the thefts at SRCC.

This case brought to light matter related to the safety of women in hostels. students from all parts of the country reside in the hostels as they complete their education, and such an incident poses a serious threat to their safety.

Prachi Nirwan, a second-year student from Indraprastha College for Women, University of Delhi, said, “Security is an issue which must be taken seriously be it girls’ hostels or boys’ hostel for that matter. Greater measures should be taken if a person entering the hostel is an outsider with proper background check and registration. There should be strict vigilance because hostel is a home away from home for the students who come to Delhi. They need to have this feeling that it (hostel) is a safe space for them.”

Feature Image Credits: Hitesh Kalra for DU Beat

Amrashree Mishra

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At 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, 10th September, the Pune police searched the residence of Hany Babu, a professor in the English Department of the University of Delhi (DU), in relation to the Elgar case.

On Tuesday, 10th September 2019, Pune police conducted a series of searches in the residence of Hany Babu, a professor in the English Department of the University of Delhi (DU), in Noida, Uttar Pradesh. The searches were conducted in connection to the Elgar Parishad case of 2017. He was investigated due to alleged Maoist links. Though no arrest was made, this development was confirmed by Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Shivaji Pawar.  “We have conducted a search operation at Babu’s residence in Noida in connection with the Elgar Parishad case registered at the Vishrambaug police station in Pune,” Pawar told India Today, adding that police have recovered some electronic devices.

The Elgar conclave was held on 31st December 2017, to commemorate the battle of Koregaon-Bhima, and the speeches made during this conclave aggravated the caste violence around the Koregaon Bhima village in the district on 1st January 2018. This led to the death of one person, and several others were injured. Police have arrested nine persons related to the case so far.

Professor Hany Babu’s Public Statement on the police intimidation and raid at his house read:

I am Hany Babu, residing with my family in Noida. I have been teaching at the English Department in the University of Delhi as an Associate Professor for close to a decade.

At 6:30 AM in the morning, 20 people knocked at my door, claiming that they belonged to the Pune Crime Branch. Five of them were in uniform, the rest were in civil clothes. I was told that they wanted to conduct a search of my residence. When asked for a search warrant, I was told that there was none and that this case doesn’t need one. Following this, I requested for some form of identification to be shown to me. An officer with the name Dr. Shivaji Pawar showed me his ID. After this, the officers entered my residence and looked through every room of my apartment. The search went on for six hours, at the end of which they said they 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 email 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. While the search was ongoing, they also seized the phones of my wife and my daughter, barring us from communicating with our friends.”

In a press release by Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA), Rajib Ray, the President of DUTA condemned the act, claiming that such raids without search warrants are against the very essence of democracy, individual freedom, and open the door for planting evidence.” He also states that such intolerance towards criticism and dissent was the basis for the insidious attempt that was made last year to amend the Delhi University Act and apply ESMA, and that “this attack on academic freedom and freedom of expression will be opposed tooth and nail by the teachers of Delhi University and other academic institutions in the country.”

The search operation has been met with a massive uproar. A protest was organised on 11th September near the Faculty of Arts, North Campus, to raise questions on the essential nature of dissent in a politically active space like DU, and its lack thereof in the face of desperate attempts to annihilate contrasting voices. This is the latest case in a series of witch-hunts aimed at making the college spaces more “positive”.

Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Shreya Juyal

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The University of Delhi (DU) is all set for the commencement of the new academic session that officially starts from the 20th July. The varsity has issued guidelines to curb ragging in the campus.

All admission formalities have been completed and the orientation sessions of various colleges and departments are going on in full swing. Keeping in mind the past experiences and instances of ragging, misbehaviour, unruly activities, and harassment; activities that have landed prestigious colleges of the University in untoward situations, the Executive Council (EC) of the varsity held a meeting on 20th June to discuss possible solutions.

The prime suggestion brought up at the meeting was of collaboration with the Delhi Police to have and extra-vigilant surveillance system in all colleges. This was followed by several rounds of written conversations between the Council and the Commissioner of Delhi Police. The Delhi Police, welcomingly, has set up two joint control rooms, one each in North and South Campus respectively, for the introductory week of this session, i.e. from 20th to 27th July. This decision aims to ensure that anti-ragging and anti-harassment measures are strictly implemented by the police personnel on duty, as well as the college authorities. This is a landmark change that the security system has undergone with the commencement of this academic session.

The following are the key policy changes that have been taken by the EC to tighten the security management in the DU colleges.

Police Pickets in Every College
The University has decided to set up police pickets in every college individually to add extra vigilance and surveillance in pursuit of ‘Zero Tolerance to Ragging’. Anybody found indulging in an act of ragging or harassment will be dealt with as a criminal by the police personnel on duty, and will have to face legal consequences that may include suspension and might extend to rustication from the college, or blacklisting in the University for three years.

Provision of Lodging Complaints on Fast-track
Apart from the Joint Control Rooms and police pickets, the students can also lodge written complaints against ragging or any kind of harassment in any of the complaint boxes in the colleges. The EC has made it mandatory for all Head of Institutions to mandatorily check these complaint boxes at the end of each working day and take fast-track action, if needed.

Moreover, special anti-ragging helplines have been provided with extra executive staff to attend to the SOS calls more efficiently and quickly.

The Helpline Number for North campus is 011-27667221 and for South Campus is 011-24119832.

Mandatory Undertakings from Every Student and Guardian/Parent
DU decreed that it will be mandatory for all students seeking admission to any DU college, as well as their guardians, to sign a mandatory anti-ragging affidavit. This undertaking clearly states the possible consequences that any kind of involvement in, or supporting of, any sort of ragging can attract.

Increased Mechanised Surveillance
The sensitive areas in and around all colleges (washrooms, hangout spots, canteens and cafes, and lawns) have been put under higher surveillance, and the number of surveillance devices have been increased.

These security measures will be implemented from the new academic session that starts from the 20th July and will aim at the smooth and steady transition of freshers to the colleges.

We wish all freshers good luck for the start of their college experiences, and we hope it makes for a good one!

Feature Image Credits

Yaksh Handa

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