Published: 21st September 2020
Collective of students hold physical protest against NEP at Jantar Mantar, nearly gets themselves arrested
The Collective is an independent, revolutionary progressive students organisation. It is spread across three campuses - Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and Ambedkar University, Delhi
Just before the pandemic unleashed itself on us, protests thronged streets across the country. COVID-19 swept the streets empty forcing citizens to take to virtual protests. So when the roads started getting more populated, the Collective, along with several other student organisations decided it was time that they moved their protest offline. This morning about 12 members gathered at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar to protest the implementation of the National Education Policy, 2020.
The Collective describes itself as an independent, revolutionary progressive student organisation. It is spread across three campuses - Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi University and Ambedkar University Delhi. From education to state repression, the Collective is at the forefront of protests related to all several social issues. The Collective refers to the National Education Policy as a ‘blueprint of privatisation, commercialisation, communalisation, vocationalisation and centralisation of education’. Shambavi Sharma, a member of the Collective said that when they heard that the government was now permitting 100 people to gather, they immediately went to the police to seek permission to hold the protest.
The police at the venue
“We were given permission but when we arrived here today, there were hordes of policemen and we were just about 12-15 students. But they threatened to arrest us, even though we were such a small group and just holding placards in our hands,” Shambavi said. She said that it was important that they come out on the roads because the group felt that there were several different policies that were getting passed during this time despite massive opposition to them. “There has been opposition to the NEP ever since the first draft came out in 2016. Last year also, there was heavy opposition to the draft and nothing that was recommended was included in the final draft,” she added.
“The NEP uses words like autonomy, flexibility, easy exit options but it is only focused on privatisation and so if we don’t speak up now, the government will carry on doing what they want to do. So when they can hold entrance exams with lakhs of students, why not allow 12 students to hold a small protest to show our dissent?”