New Delhi: (Press Release/11 April 2014): The Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) condemns the DU Administration’s move to seal the DUSU office following the reprehensible attack on the Director, South Campus by the DUSU Jt. Secretary and his associates. Instead of instituting a proper disciplinary process against the individuals involved, the DU Administration has used this unfortunate incident as a pretext to attack the institution of the DUSU, the elected body of students.
The attack on the DU official is condemnable, but the authorities must face the fact that they have sown and harvested a culture of violence in our University, both physical as well as the violence against independent thinking, articulation and debate. Last year a Law professor was slapped by the then DUSU President, but no action was taken against him even as the victim lodged a police complaint and demanded an inquiry. In this case, the Administration has chosen to depart from all accepted norms and summarily expel the DUSU Jt. Secretary. This shameful inconsistency can only be explained by the fact that the former DUSU President had supported and publicly spoken in favour of the FYUP, while the current DUSU leadership has demanded a roll back of the controversial programme.
Delhi University has witnessed a number of violent incidents against teachers and students in the recent past. At the behest of the VC, teachers were manhandled and their clothes torn by police at the effigy burning during the 53 day DUTA hunger strike last year. A teacher of SRCC was manhandled and humiliated by bouncers employed by the VC when he wished to express his opinion on DU’s academic reforms. Women teachers were manhandled by male police at the demonstration outside the VC’s residence protesting against the violence perpetrated on hunger striking students, a student activist was deliberately run over by the official ambulance, all at the behest of University authorities.
For more than three years now, the VC has refused to meet the elected representatives of teachers. His attitude has increasingly been equally dismissive towards students. With the complete cessation of dialogue, frustrations about unresolved grievances are bound to spill over, and should be handled carefully and intelligently. The sealing of the DUSU office is completely unjustified and a blatantly anti-democratic act.
The DUTA warns that the DU Administration’s brazenly political response to an act of indiscipline will deepen the existing frustrations and encourage the persistence of violence. The first step is to begin dialogue immediately with elected representatives of students, teachers and karamcharis. Otherwise the University will continue to hurtle towards a crisis of unimaginable proportions.
The DUTA stands firmly in solidarity with the DUSU in this moment of crisis. It will not accept this ploy of back-door Emergency through which the Administration intends to crush the democratic organs of the University. While the DUTA welcomes every legitimate step to ensure that acts of violence and indiscipline are not repeated, it cannot condone the attack on the DUSU. It urges the Administration to respond sensibly and allow the DUSU to function, so that normalcy is immediately restored.