Published: 12th July 2021
Caught on Video: DU staff manhandles students on hunger strike protesting high fees amid pandemic
The issue is not new. The students have been asking the university to reduce fees by exempting library and maintenance fees since the first lockdown was implemented
Around 10 students of the University of Delhi who were protesting in front of DU's Central Library were forcefully removed by almost 60 staff and security guards, alleged student activists who organised the protest. The students were on a hunger strike, asking the administration to reduce the fees as students were not accessing most of the services due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
AISA's DU unit put up a video of staff members and security officers engaged in an altercation with the students in front of the library. One of the staff, who was identified as a security supervisor by the students, is seen manhandling the students physically. "We were just sitting in for a peaceful protest when they came in and started asking us to leave and then went on to tug the mattresses and rugs we were sitting on. This escalated soon to the security supervisors pushing us around," said Ritwick Raj, AISA's DU Unit Secretary. "But soon after that video was recorded, around 60 staff members (out of whom only 10 to 15 were security personnel) came to the protest site and evicted us. This is nothing but a show of power so that students don't protest. They are threatened by the smallest of demonstrations," he added.
The issue is not new. The students have been asking the university to reduce fees by exempting library and maintenance fees of facilities that the students are not using since they are not on campus since the first lockdown was implemented. "But the university has not taken any action. Even during the exams, it's the students' paper and internet that is being used while the university should be the one arranging for these," said Ritwick.