BBC documentary screening at DU: Students question move to form panel to investigate violence

The students association, AISA, questioned how such programmes and protests can be called a "breach of discipline"
File photo of Delhi University | Pic: Express
File photo of Delhi University | Pic: Express

Student associations questioned Delhi University's move to form a seven-member committee on January 28 to investigate the unrest that unfurled outside the Faculty of Arts building on January 27 over the attempted screening of the BBC documentary on Prime Minister Modi. They termed it as a "continuation of the rising attacks on democratic space of public universities across India".

A statement by the All India Students' Association (AISA) said, "Why no such disciplinary committee is formed when ABVP violently attacks student activists from AISA and other organizations as well as common students holding democratic debates and discussions?"

According to a notification released by DU, the panel, which is presided over by DU Proctor Rajini Abbi, has been formed to enforce discipline and preserve law and order on campus. The committee has been further instructed to submit its report to Vice-Chancellor, Yogesh Singh, by January 30, 5 pm.

However, the students association asked how such programmes and protests are a "breach of discipline". "If the University does have a say in matters of law and order related to programmes held at Arts Faculty, why Delhi University remained silent when countless FIRs were being filed against the students who were protesting for their rights over the last 2 years?," they added in the statement.

They stated that most programmes and protests at DU's Arts Faculty have seen police barricading and detentions. "The continuous and ever increasing power given to the Delhi Police on the University campus can only be seen as an attempt to instill fear among students against raising their voice. Formation of this committee is continuation of the rising attacks on democratic space of Public Universities across India. From JNU to Jamia, HCU to DU, the government's objective to destroy the democratic space, the culture of Debate and Discussion of a University stands exposed," they added in the statement.

The ANI report quotes from the notification, "The Committee may specifically look into the incident of the 27th of January, 2023 which occurred outside the Faculty of Arts and opposite gate No. 4, University of Delhi."

The notification lists other members of the committee and they include Professor Ajay Kumar Singh of the Department of Commerce, Professor Manoj Kumar Singh, Joint Proctor, Professor Sanjoy Roy of the Department of Social Work, Professor Rama, Principal of Hansraj College, Professor Dinesh Khattar, Principal of Kirorimal College, and Gaje Singh, Chief Security Officer.

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