PUDR Statement on the recent manhandling of Delhi University teacher by the authorities

April 11, 2013

PRESS STATEMENT

PUDR condemns the manhandling and ousting of a teacher of Delhi University by the Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh’s private security men from the auditorium of Shri Ram College of Commerce, as he got up to ask the VC a question. The incident occurred when the VC had come to the college to deliver a lecture on 5 April 2013. Associate Professor Sanjay Bohidar, who teaches at SRCC, had spoken a few prefatory words, when he was surrounded and roughly shoved out, while the VC and college authorities looked on. The reason for targeting Mr. Bohidar appears to be his active involvement in the teachers’ movement and his democratically expressed opposition to the VC’s policies in the past. This scandalous and blatant violation of the fundamental right to freedom of speech guaranteed under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution for simply daring to speak before the Vice Chancellor came exactly two months after the police crackdown outside SRCC on teachers and students who had been peacefully protesting against Narendra Modi’s visit to the institution. It is shocking to see how basic civil liberties such as the right to democratic dissent and to free speech have been under open attack with the collusion and in the present case, by the direct agency of the University authorities within the campus of a premier institution of higher education in India. The impunity with which the Delhi University VC and other authorities have been gagging even peaceful and non-disruptive voices of protest has to be revoked.

We demand that the present offence be recognized as another serious violation of democratic rights, and explanations sought and action taken against the guilty.

Asish Gupta, D. Manjit
Secretaries PUDR