Amid the intensifying students’ protests against Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens in universities across the country, Delhi University has issued a notice making it mandatory for students and teachers to inform the administration before organising protest outside Arts Faculty Gate and adjoining areas.
Issued by the university proctor, Neeta Sehgal, the notice demands the organisers to submit details at least 24 hours in advance to the proctor’s office. The details being sought include name of the organiser, nature of program, list of speakers, among others.
The notice came two days after a protest against the amended Citizenship Act and pan-India implementation of NRC was organised near the Arts Faculty Gate. The gathering was addressed by author and activist Arundhati Roy and actor Zeeshan Ayyub.
The notice has drawn flak from both students and teachers of the varsity.
“This right [to assemble] cannot be trampled on by any form of bureaucratic red tapism that demands paperwork in order to hold protest,” said thee DU unit of Students’ Federation of India (SFI) while rejecting the notice.
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All India Students’ Association (AISA) also rejected the “farman” of the DU administration, by issuing a statement which stated, “In the same week as the Delhi Police using face-recognition to identify 'habitual protesters', the Delhi University proctor gives another hint of our country turning into a surveilance (sic) state.”
The recent past has also seen teachers coming out on the streets, demanding an end to the prevailing practice of ad-hoc teachers within the varsity. Earlier this month, the teachers went on strike to demand one time absorption of around 5,000 ad hoc teachers in Delhi University.
“On what basis does the administration ask for prior notice. The space outside the Arts Faculty Gate does not come under the campus premises. It is an attempt of the administration to even grab the public space available to students and teachers to voice their dissent,” said Prof. Rajeev Kunwar, Vice President of Democratic Teachers’ Front.
Though being condemned both by students and teachers, the notice can be seen as going along with the views shared by the Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal who on Sunday was reported as saying that the centre will not tolerate educational institutions turning into hubs of political activity.
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