Students gathered inside the Delhi University Art Faculty on Wednesday to demand the repeal of an arbitrary notice by the university which debarred students who participated in the screening of the BBC documentary- THE MODI QUESTION.
The student collectives Fraternity Movement, BASF, BSCEM, DSU, AISA, SIO, and Y4S, took part in the protest rally.
The demand for the restoration of the rights of the students and the undemocratic practice from the side of university authorities were the crucial issues raised by the protestors.
The protest comes in response to the notice issued by the university, which debarred eight students from taking their exams. The students were found to have participated in the screening of the documentary, which the university claimed was “anti-national” and “propagandist.” The documentary which exposed Narendra Modi’s role in Gujarat Muslim genocide 2002 was widely targeted by Hindutva groups and BJP governments across the country.
The documentary screening was organised on 27 January by several students’ groups. Some of the students were detained by the Delhi Police from the spot, and their details were collected by the university from the FIR.
A committee formed by Delhi University to look into the incident had barred two students — Lokesh Chugh and Ravinder Singh — for a year, and recommended punishment against six others, including Sneha Sarahshaji, Anshul Yadav, Dinesh Kumar, Mishab, Ashutosh.
The punishment for the six students was to write a letter to the administration expressing that they are sorry and won’t repeat the act again, said DU V-C Yogesh Singh Tuesday.
Lokesh is a leader of NSU(I), student wing of Indian National Congress while Ravinder is affiliated with the Bhagat Singh Chatr Ekta Manch (BSCEM).
The protesters emphasized that the university was denying the freedom of expression and academic freedom of students with such actions.
According to Nahla, joint secretary of Fraternity Movement, the undemocratic action from the university was excessive and disproportionate. “By these kind of threatenings we won’t set back. We will resist. Either accept our existence or expect our resistance,” she said.
The university’s decision has put the future of these students in jeopardy, as they are unable to take their exams and complete their studies. The students and their families are appealing to the university to reconsider their decision and restore their rights.
As of now, the university has not responded to the demands of the protestors. However, the students have vowed to continue their protests until their demands are met, and their rights are restored.