Shrinking Democracy in Delhi University

The “Campaign Against War on People,” organized a seminar on state repression in West Bengal and Orissa in the North Campus of University of Delhi on 14th December. About an hour before the seminar was scheduled to start, Dr. Anirban Kar, who teaches economics in Delhi School of Economics was stopped from putting posters for the seminar. The security officer, who stopped him, misbehaved with and threatened Dr. Kar, when the latter asked the officer to show him the statute that bans putting posters in that place. For years now these spaces in the University have been used to put up posters. Anyhow, the security officer took Dr. Kar’s University Identity Card (which was later restored to him). The officer, apparently with the permission of the Proctor, told Dr. Kar that the administration will file a court case against him. It needs to be mentioned that the walls of university buildings are plastered with posters of all kinds, including massive business advertisements. Yet the administration finds the A4 size posters of the Campaign most offensive. This incident is no exception. The administration tried to stop a public meeting organized by the Campaign on 13th November, in the University.

Experience has taught us that one of the first moves the administration makes to stop potentially powerful movements of people is the use of threat and pressure based on officio/legal action. On this occasion it went beyond this by using physical force, showing in the process how readily the administration uses violence against students, and even professors.We have repeatedly pointed out the manner in which space for democratically protesting oppressive policies are shrinking. This incident goes to show us the degree of the damage being done. In any case Delhi University has a strange way of demarcating democratic spaces. Small stretches of walls are termed ‘walls of democracy,’ as if (as a member of the Campaign suggested) the rest are walls of Fascism. The issue is not merely of the victimization of Dr. Kar (though that is an important issue that also needs to be addressed), but also of the attempts of the state to reduce our freedom to narrow and easily controllable limits, so as to do away with the possibility of difficult questions that we could raise.

We, the members of this Campaign strongly condemn such moves of the administration and appeal to all democratic voices to join us in our protest.

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2 comments

  1. meher engineer · · Reply

    the write up is lucid. i expect it is also true. it follows that anyone who believes in freedom of expression (Balasaheb ambedkar is an obvious example of some one who did); the proctor of Delhi university and equally obvious example of some one who does not) will condemn the violation of Dr kars constitutional right, the University for violating this right and will point to thefact that the University is supported by the tax payers money.

    meher

  2. Prof. Amit Bhattacharyya · · Reply

    The whole episode makes a mockery of democracy in this so-called ‘land of the largest democracy’ in the world. it is a gross violation of freedom of expression, of the right to hold a view diferent from that of the ruling classes and the policy-makers of the state, of the democratic right to dissent, to criticise and oppose unjust and anti-people policies of the state.–rights which the people of the country had acquired through decades of struggle. They have been doing it also in West Bengal and other states. With the declaration of the ‘Operation Greenhunt’ i.e the war against the people, and with the gagging of the fundamental rights of the people by force and intimidation, the Indian ruling classes and their political representaives–Manmohan-Chidambaram & Co have been moving towards emergency without formally declaring it. The democratic voice of he country should stand up to oppose this fascistic onslaught.

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