All India Forum for Right to Education (AIFRTE) statement on the Lucknow University administration’s suppression of peaceful student protest on the Campus and attack on academicians and writers:
AIFRTE expresses shock and outrage against the action of the Lucknow University’s current Vice-Chancellor and his administrative officials in
- Denying admission to 25 students on grounds of `indiscipline’ because they had participated in a black flag demonstration against the UP Chief Minister and the Vice-Chancellor during the last semester;
- Charging students who were sitting on dharna in protest against this blatantly anti-democratic and punitive action with causing violence when some unknown elements created trouble as the V.C. was passed by in his car on July 4th 2018, days after the dharna had begun;
- Arresting Pooja Shukla, a university first divisioner who has been denied admission, who was on hunger strike but was badly manhandled by the police although she was suffering from hypertension and dehydration;
- Registering an FIR against Prof Roop Rekha Verma, a well-known and highly respected faculty member and ex- Vice-Chancellor of the University, on the false charge of instigating the violence although she was not even present on the campus when the incident occurred.
Prof Roop Rekha, along with literary critic Virendra Yadav and well-known poet Naresh Saxena and faculty members and student activists had expressed solidarity with Pooja Shukla and joined her dharna on July 3rd, demanding that the administration resolve the issue amicably in the interest of the students. This series of events shows unmistakably that Lucknow University is being pushed down the same path as other major institutions of higher education across the country.
These institutions, including FTII, IITs, and universities like JNU, Hyderabad, Jadavpur, Allahabad, AMU, Delhi etc., are being staffed and headed by RSS persons and those close to the Sangh Parivar’s way of thinking. ABVP students are being directed and encouraged to create conflict and discord on campuses against democratic and progressive students and faculty so that the administration can move against them to stifle any democratic protests, and accuse them of outrageous actions including creating violence, `anti-nationalism’ and even sedition.
AIFRTE asserts that the right to protest peacefully and to express solidarity with democratic protests is fundamental to the letter and spirit of India’s Constitution and is an integral part of a healthy academic atmosphere in institutions of higher education. The act of politically motivated administrations to suppress these legitimate democratic activities and impose punitive penalties on members of the academic community constitute a grave threat to the proper functioning of these institutions and to the society at large.
AIFRTE demands that:
- The students’ issues be speedily resolved through dialogue, and
- Fake charges against Prof. Roop RekhaVerma be withdrawn immediately