Delhi: AIFRTE condemns police attack on students protesting against commercialisation and communalization

November 17, 2015

All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) unequivocally condemns the brutal police attack in Delhi on students protesting against commercialisation and communalization. The students led by All India Students’ Federation (AISF) were demanding implementation of Bhagat Singh National Employment Guarantee Act, action against murderers of rationalists Dr. Dabholkar, Com. Pansare and Prof. Kalburgi, withdrawal of ‘offer’ to commit higher education to WTO-GATS and enhancement of non-NET fellowships by UGC and its extension to state universities.

According to reports, students from several states were marching towards Parliament peacefully when the police attacked without any provocation. More than 15 students including girls have received injuries while at least one student with severe head injury has been hospitalized. The police have also arrested more than 50 students.

This attack by police on a peaceful protest by students shows that the present regime is unwilling to even hear a voice of dissent against its agenda. It shall be noted that a prominent issue raised by the students was central government’s willingness to open higher education sector to global trade under WTO-GATS regime. It has also been pointed out that moves to withdraw non-NET fellowships are preparatory steps in this direction. What is quite disturbing is that a democratically elected government is using violent means to crush voices raising legitimate concerns over subversion of constitutional values in education. One can imagine to what extent the government can go to protect corporate profit once it is bound by terms of multilateral trade agreements under WTO-GATS.

AIFRTE expresses its wholehearted solidarity with AISF comrades and students and demands that the central government should,

· take action against the brutal police attack on students;

· unconditionally release the arrested students; and

· implement the just and legitimate demands of the students.

AIFRTE Presidium
Dr. Meher Engineer, West Bengal, Chairperson, AIFRTE; Ex-President, Indian Academy of Social Science; Kolkata
Prof. Wasi Ahmed, Bihar, Former Joint Secretary, AIFUCTO; Patna
Sri Prabhakar Arade, Maharashtra, President, AIFETO; Kolhapur
Prof. G. Haragopal, Andhra Pradesh, National Fellow, ICSSR; TISS, Hyderabad
Prof. Madhu Prasad, Delhi, Formerly Dept. of Philosophy, Zakir Husain College, Delhi University
Prof. Anil Sadgopal, Madhya Pradesh, Former Dean, Faculty of Education, Delhi University; Bhopal
Prof. K. Chakradhar Rao, Telengana, Dept. of Economics, Osmania University, Hyderabad
Prof. K. M. Shrimali, Delhi, Formerly Dept. of History, Delhi University
Dr. Anand Teltumbde, West Bengal, Professor of Management, IIT, Kharagpur