Published: 30th December 2019
DU's notice asking for prior info about protests is anti-democratic: Students, teachers condemn move
DUSU President Akshit Dahiya said that even though they did not have an issue with the notice at present, they will protest if democratic rights are curbed at any point
The Delhi University issued a notice on Friday making it compulsory for protestors to intimate the Proctor's office 24 hours prior to the planned protest, dharna, public speech, GBM or rally outside the Arts Faculty Gate. Student organisations have condemned the notice calling it anti-democratic while teachers of the university said it was "yet another instance of the Proctor's high handedness".
The notice has made it mandatory for the organisers to furnish particulars of the demonstrations at least 24 hours in advance — the name of the organiser, their institution, contact information, nature of the programme, duration, use of logistics, list of speakers and the expected number of participants. But the notice, signed by Proctor Dr Neeta Sehgal, does not say what will be the consequences if these details are not provided prior to a protest.
The Delhi University Students' Union (DUSU) President Akshit Dahiya said that even though they did not have an issue with the notice at present, they will protest if democratic rights are curbed at any point. "We submit an intimation to the concerned authorities before any protest or programme. So this notice does not change anything," said Akshit. "But if they (administration) try to stop anyone from protesting, DUSU will protest. It is our democratic right to protest. They cannot take away our right to free speech," he added.
Former President of DU Teachers' Association (DUTA), Dr Nandita Narain said that this notice is definitely something new. "We have always protested in front of the Arts' Faculty Gate and have notified the Delhi Police every time. They, if need be, have contacted the VC or the Proctor. This notice is nothing but the Proctor's show of high handedness. She has done this before as well when she did not let our protesting teachers put up a tent as they sat for a day-night sit-in and froze in the cold," she said.
The All India Students' Association (AISA), in a statement, said that the country is turning into a 'surveillance state' and the Protorial notice hints at that. "Is there no space for democracy in DU? In the same week as the Delhi Police using face-recognition to identify 'habitual protesters', the Delhi University proctor gives another hint that our country is turning into a surveillance state," read the statement. "Protest is a Constitutional right of the citizens and the students and must be free from any kind of paperwork. AISA, with the student community, rejects these anti-democratic diktats of the Sanghi DU administration," it declared.