On April 9, the Proctor of the Ambedkar University Delhi (AUD) issued an order against Students’ Federation of India’s (SFI) AUD convener Priyansh Maurya, fining him Rs 40,000 and de-registering him from the current semester. This order came about due to events on March 9, when protesting students from the AUD's Kashmere Gate and Karampura campus demanded the re-opening of the campus and that physical classes begin again.
After the administration failed to pay heed to their demands, the protesting students decided to voice their dissent by making graffiti on the campus' walls. Following the protest the AUD administration de-barred Priyansh, a final year graduate student of history at the university, from entering the Kashmere Gate Campus.
In a statement released on Sunday, April 11, SFI AUD said: “The order, however, shows the authoritarian attitude of the VC and the rest of the administration. Heavily penalising him for his actions to try and save the democratic ethos of the university, Priyansh has been asked to pay a hefty amount of nearly Rs 40,000, failing which he will not be allowed into campus. He has been further asked to furnish an ‘apology letter’ written by his parents,” it said.
The statement mentioned if that “wasn’t infantilising enough, Priyansh is being sent to the Ehsaas clinic for ‘anger management’.” It added that he was being de-enrolled from the Winter Semester 2021. “In other words, Priyansh has been stopped from graduating by one year,” it said.
“I'm in utter shock to see the Proctor’s order in my case. Protesting for a re-opening of the and making graffiti on the campus wall has been the culture at AUD. Imposing such a heavy penalty on me shows how much the administration is scared of students’ voices. I completely deny the fact that I made the graffiti out of uncontrollable anger for which the administration is referring me to the Ehsaas Clinic for anger management. I made it because I wanted to reclaim AUD's walls again after the whitewash. However, the administration is mentally torturing me by releasing arbitrary orders. Also, how am I supposed to pay a fine of almost Rs 40,000?” asked Priyansh,
The AUD campuses have always had graffiti. Sometimes the administration has them covered with a fresh coat of paint, but the drawings reappear. According to the students, no student of AUD has been asked to discontinue and repeat an entire year for making graffiti on the walls of the premises.
“We are disgusted by the administration and the VC’s authoritarian attitude. On multiple occasions it was made clear by Student Councillors that the University must ensure that Priyansh’s degree is not held. We were told that the administration will be ‘lenient’ as they considered Priyansh as ‘one of their own’, and were ‘concerned’ for his future. Lies, lies, lies. The administration has no sense of a proportionate response, and then has the audacity to make false promises,” said Elizabeth, a member of SFI AUD.
In a statement released on Monday, April 12, SFI Delhi said: “The draconian Code of Discipline imposed by the AUD administration was unanimously rejected by the student community and yet the administration is relying on it to target students.”
“We will not stop marking our dissent towards the authoritarian administration and struggle will continue to reopen the campus. AUD administration must take back these arbitrary punishments meted out against Priyansh Maurya or face the wrath of the Student Community,” the statement released by SFI AUD said.