The final day of DUTA’s Jansunwai focused on repressive measures undertaken by the DU VC against faculty, students and non-teaching staff, as well as the systematic attack on the democratic fabric of the University, during his tenure. As a fresh addition to proceedings, students representing the organisations PACHASS and AISA sang songs of hope and struggle and raised slogans for the VC’s immediate removal.
Dr. Prashanta Chakravorty who teaches in the University’s Dept. of English pointed out that as soon as the VC assumed his office, meetings of the Department Council and General Body Meetings of subject-teachers were arbitrarily discontinued. This draconian measure followed after eleven English Dept. teachers were served with a Show-Cause Notice for arguing against the feasibility of the Semester System in a Department Council Meeting in 2011. Even the meetings of the Committees of Courses to decide on the semesterized courses were held in the Vice-Regal Lodge, under the direct monitoring of the VC. The overall intolerance to ideas and heterogeneous ways of thinking had, subsequently, a disastrous impact on the standards of teaching-learning in this department.
Former AC member and teacher at SRCC, Sanjay Bohidar, also emphasized on the DU VC’s intolerance and rabid disregard for divergent opinion. While he reminded the assembled gathering of teachers, students and non-teaching staff about how he had been roughed up by the VC’s bouncers at SRCC for daring to ask permission for a question, he also described the way in which statutory bodies had been systematically robbed of their independence. Heads of departments, principals by rotation and even elected members were issued threats and intimidated into submission to ensure that they would speak in the VC’s voice. The most unfortunate indication of the repressive tactics of the VC, according to him, could be gleaned from the refusal to meet the DUTA and deny it a venue to hold its general body meetings. Bohidar stressed on the fact that the Code of Conduct and rule of fear or favour, imposed on the academic community by the VC, recasts that relationship between administration and teachers as a hierarchical relationship between employer and employee. Such a system is antithetical to the idea of a modern University.
Students Shreya Gupta and Souradeep Roy described the arduous struggle that post-graduate students of English had to fight in order to have a Student-Faculty Committee (SFC) in their department, even though the Ordinances of the University provide for the establishment of such a committee. They also protested against the manner in which four of their best teachers of the Department were repeatedly victimized by the administration, denied their employee rights and eventually forced to resign and leave only because these teachers had chosen to express their discomfort against the FYUP and other forms of interference in academic matters by the VC.
Former DUTA presidents Shri Ram Oberoi and Amar Deo Sharma also spoke condemning the VC for his arrogant disregard of institutional processes and his cowardly attacks on the most vulnerable sections of teachers.
One such teacher who spoke of his own victimization is Dr. Rajesh Mohan who served as an officiating principal at ARSD College before retiring in 2012. His pension has been withheld without any reason and even his repeated RTIs did not yield any replies from the administration. Dr. Mohan felt that he has been victimized simply because he refused to tow the VC’s and Director of South Campus’ line in administrative matters.
Ms. Vasantha, wife of incarcerated teacher-activist Dr. G. N. Saibaba also spoke on how her husband, who suffers from 90% disability, was repeatedly harassed by the Police and University administration while the VC chose to not even protect his basic employee rights.
Mamta Sahrawat from Bhagini Nivedita College said that Principals have got encouraged because of misgovernance by the VC and have in turn tried to suppress voices of teachers who raise issues. A teacher who worked on adhoc basis in ZHC against SC post for many years and has been recently pushed out said that because the DU administration has not respected reservation roster, the effect is that rosters are being manipulated in colleges and unfortunately there is no scope of getting justice in the system.
Teachers and students present concluded that the worst victims of the repressive governance and violation of democratic processes are students. Repressive governance put in place to bulldoze recent academic restructuring including Semester System, FYUP and Examination Reforms has jeopardized careers of lakhs of students.
Through Jansunwai the university community has once again urged the Visitor to take into account the abuse of Office by DU VC and act on the matter immediately. The three day Jansunwai has only increased the conviction of students and teachers to strengthen the struggle to demand Removal of VC in defense of Delhi University.