Ambedkar University Delhi Faculty Association condemns the police brutality on students of Panjab University earlier this month. Students were protesting against fee hikes which have been made primarily because one of the oldest universities in the country is under a financial crisis for the last one year. This has happened due to the distinctive status of the university, which is neither a Central university nor a full state university. The UGC since last year has stopped its grants to the University and as a result not being able to generate salaries for employees, the University hiked student fees in response. Lathi charge and tear gas shells were unleashed on the protesting students, students were arrested under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including sedition charges. Although released, students are still under surveillance and victimized.
As a faculty association, as much as AUDFA is alarmed over the fact that police enter University premises and indiscriminately cause violence on students, it is also anxious about the UGC’s absolving of responsibility towards Panjab University suddenly declaring that it is not a central University. By denying grants to old public universities like Panjab University, unilaterally proposing to grant autonomy status to many Delhi University colleges, or encouraging self-financing courses in institutions of higher learning, slowly and steadily privatising the educational landscape has been unswerving. We face a threat as public institutions of higher learning, and it is the need of the hour to build solidarities across all forms of public universities. Within this neo-liberal milieu protest is always and only repressed. Presence of police in campus and slapping criminal charges against students goes completely against the democratic spirit that University spaces are supposed to represent and preserve. AUDFA extends support to the causes raised by the students of Panjab University.
Secretary President Treasurer
Gopalji Pradhan Rukmini Sen Arindam Banerjee