Assault By University Security On Woman In Delhi University
27 July, 2011
We are shocked and outraged at the shameful incident that took place inside the Arts faculty premises, at around 11:30 am, on 22nd July 2011. The Security staff of the university physically and verbally assaulted a woman and her male colleague, in order to prevent them from distributing pamphlets. Several Delhi Police personnel who were present, stood by and watched the assault, instead of preventing it from continuing. Worse, when some students intervened on behalf of the victims, they and the victims were threatened by the police with arrest. Later the students and several college teachers approached the Dean of Students Welfare and the Proctor, demanding an explanation for, and action against the excessive and outrageous conduct of the Security personnel. The Administration was extremely reluctant to take up the issue, and in fact, locked the main gate to the Proctor’s office when they learnt that teachers and students were on their way to meet the Proctor. The strange explanation that was offered for the behaviour of the Security was that the victims were outsiders to the university, and that they were distributing religious literature which is allegedly against the rules of the university. A police complaint was filed and the medico-legal examination revealed injury and swelling above the left eye. Today (25th July) when a delegation comprising students and teachers went to enquire about the response of the Proctor to the incident, the proctor stated vaguely that at some point an inquiry committee might be constituted, and reiterated the University’s position that distribution of pamphlets is not permitted. When asked to produce the rule in question, the Proctor’s stated that there was no such rule in writing, but that ‘he is the one who makes law here’. The incident is grave on several counts:
1. Even if it were illegal or against University Rules to distribute religious literature (which it is not), the Security do not have the right to physically assault anyone who does so, even if they are outsiders to the university.
2. The Constitution of India guarantees the right to disseminate religious literature. Therefore, the assault is a direct attack on the Constitution. The University’s defence is an attempt to dangerously and gratuitously communalize the sensitive issue in an attempt to wriggle out of the serious charge of manhandling and physical assault.
3. The fact that one of the victims was a woman did not deter the Security from physical violence and the subsequent specious justification of it. It may be noted that in the absence of any female Security personnel, the incident noted above constitutes gender bias and possibly sexual harassment.
4. Over the last two years, both staff and students of the university have repeatedly been threatened physically and verbally on several occasions by the Security. Recently, the Security and the University administration have taken it upon themselves to decide what is appropriate reading material for members of the University. They have arbitrarily forbidden and disrupted programs, harassed faculty and students of the University who have taken up socio-political, economic, etc., issues that the administration does not approve of. This is absurd per se, but more so in a University space.
5. It is shameful and tragic that the University Security is itself a danger to the campus.
6. It is of profound concern that over the last few years the university administration has displayed a tendency to be increasingly hostile towards democratic activities and indeed to the very idea of democratic culture. They are attempting to change the very character of a University.
1. Prompt and stringent action against the Security personnel involved in this incident.
2. The repeal of any Directive requiring permission from the University administration for distribution of pamphlets and other such exercise of intellectual freedom. Such activities are the democratic right of any organization and every individual. It is not the business of the Administration to function as a moral and intellectual custodian of the University.
3. Safe campus for women at all times. The University administration should take immediate measures to ensure this without increasing police presence in the campus.
4. Immediate removal of the Proctor, Prof. H P Singh, the Head of Security, Mr. Gajey Singh Chauhan, and the two security personnel named in the complaint, Mr. Krishan Kumar and Mr. Dharam Veer.
Join us in a public protest against the authoritarian and high handed approach of the University Administration.
Venue: Outside the Proctor’s Office, Near Arts Faculty, Delhi University.
Time: 12:00 p.m.
Date: 29 July 2011
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