Published: 22nd June 2020
DU students, teachers detained and then released by Delhi Police for protesting against online exams
Teachers' and students' organisations across the country had opposed the University of Delhi's move to conduct online examinations since May
The Delhi Police on Monday arrested around a dozen students and teachers from the University of Delhi for protesting and raising their voice against conducting online and Open Book examinations during the pandemic. They were released almost immediately after they were made to sign stating that they would not violate Section 144, which is in place due to the Coronavirus lockdown.
The protestors were taken to the Maurice Nagar Police Station, which is about two kilometres away from the campus. "We waited here asking them not to file an FIR, then the police released them. The protest began at 1 pm, around 1:45-2 pm the Delhi Police detained some of the protestors," said Prasenjeet Kumar, state secretary, All India Students' Association, DU.
Various student organisations collectively had given a call for a National Protest on Monday, June 22, against attempts by various universities to conduct online exams. "The students and teachers who staged a protest following this at VC office in DU were detained by Delhi Police. Nazma Rehmani, a professor of DU and ex-office bearer of DUTA was also among the detained. We were having a symbolic protest against Online Exam at VC's office peacefully and police manhandled and detained the protestors. Delhi University administration is clearly neglecting the demands of the student community and is now attacking them as well!" said Sumit Kataria, President, Students' Federation of India, Delhi State.
Teachers' and students' organisations across the country had opposed the university's move to conduct online examinations since the varsity released an official notification on May 14 stating the same. Even after that, on May 30, the university had released the datasheet for online examinations for its final semester students. The open book examinations are scheduled to begin in the first week of July. The idea of OBEs has been vehemently opposed by students and teachers alike owing to a large number of students not having access to necessary gadgets, study materials or a fast internet connection.
Recently, on June 17, the Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) also submitted a petition, containing 15,701 signatures by students, parents and teachers, to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to intervene in the university's decision to conduct Open Book Examinations for final year students. Copies of the letter had also been submitted to Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal, University Grants Commission (UGC) chairperson D P Singh and DU Vice-Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi.
A recent survey by the Delhi University Teachers' Association done in May had found out that 55 per cent of the students of the varsity did not have access to study material to appear for an open book examination. The survey also found out that most of the students did not have gadgets to appear for examinations online. "Over 90 per cent students (of the university) had voted against online examinations. DU chooses to ignore the alternatives suggested by several departments and DUTA," the association had said in their statement.