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DUSU Elections: Varsity votes to elect student representatives

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Image by Ishan Kukreti
Image by Ishan Sharma
Image by Ishan Sharma

 

By Ishan Kukreti

North Campus, New Delhi: Delhi University students today voted to select their student body representative who’d be responsible for infrastructural improvements, cultural activities and properly employing funds of the university.

Although, strict rules were to be followed regarding use of funds for posters, pamphlets and other campaign materials bythe Delhi University Student Union (DUSU) election commission, the same openly flaunted with  party members openly distributing pamphlets, and using printed posters.

Polling started at eight in the morning and saw strictly monitored movement of students across North Campus of Delhi University. Chatra Marg, from Faculty of Arts to Faculty of Law,

Image by Ishan Kukreti
Image by Ishan Kukreti

was barricaded by the police, allowing only students with ID cards to enter. The police discouraged students from gathering and standing in groups outside colleges like Ramjas andKirori Mal to keep the possibility of any confrontation between rival political parties to the minimum.

Today’s voting, which took place in 50 DU colleges affiliated to DUSU across Delhi, will decide the fate of candidates from the major parties: AkhilBhartiyaVidharthi Parishad (ABVP), National Student Union of India (NSUI), All India Student Association (AISA) and the newly formed Aam Aadmi Party backed ChhatraYuvaSangharshSamiti (CYSS).

Image by Ishan Sharma
Image by Ishan Sharma

“A total of 35 candidates are contestingthe four posts of DUSU office bearers. While nine candidates are in race for the post of President, eight are vying for Vice President’s chair,” DS Rawat, DU faculty and Chief Election Commissioner for DUSU polls said.

Talking to NewsGram, ABVP National Secretary RohitChahal said, ” ABVP won all four seats last year, and we’ll win them this year too because we have worked for the students. This year we are focusing on women safety, improving hostel facilities, solving the rent problem faced by students living in the vicinity of campus.”

Although all parties had similar promises to make to the students like rent control, women safety, better connectivity for far away

Image Ishan Kukreti

colleges, they basically differed in their outlook towards other parties.

While ABVP members felt that CYSS and NSUI have been indulging in muscle and money power politics, NSUI members blamed CYSS of the same.

“Arvind Kejriwal has fooled the people of Delhi, but he will not be able to do that with DU students. CYSS stands no chance in the DUSU elections even with all the muscle and money it is employing.” Vivekanand Pathak, National Sectary, NSUI told NewsGram.

Although DUSU elections have always been a tough fight for all the participants, the debut of AAP’s CYSS in the political area of DU this year will definitely give everyone a run for their money.

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Anti-Punjab Conspiracy: Apologise to Punjabis for Branding them as Drug Addicts, Demands Akali Dal to Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal

A survey by PGIMER had revealed that drugs abuse in Punjab was just around one per cent of the 2.8 crore population in the state

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Sukhbir Singh Badal, President of Akali Dal in Punjab. Wikimedia

Chandigarh, Sep 11, 2017: Punjab’s opposition Akali Dal on Sunday said that latest findings of PGIMER survey listing drug addiction in the state at less than a per cent had yet again nailed the “anti-Punjab conspiracy” of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi and AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal and demanded they apologise to the people.

“The latest comprehensive survey which was carried out in all 22 districts as well as 22 villages in each district, had exposed the anti-Punjab conspiracy of Rahul Gandhi and his team as well as that of AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal,” SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal said in a statement here.

“Both leaders and their parties should now tell Punjabis why they branded them as drug addicts and tender an unconditional apology to the people of the state.”

Claiming that the “entire conspiracy was hatched to counter the development narrative of the previous SAD-BJP government”, Badal said though the Congress had succeeded in its goal of achieving power in Punjab, it had caused incalculable damage to its people and its economy.

“Both Congress and AAP played with the lives of the youth and made them virtually unhireable. The image distortion also dented the image of Punjab and Punjabis worldwide,” he said.

Highlighting Rahul Gandhi’s “nefarious role in this sordid chapter of Punjab politics”, Badal said he was “definitely the villain-in-chief”.

“Rahul uttered an utter lie to reap political mileage for his flagging party by claiming in October 2012 at a NSUI function in Chandigarh that 70 per cent of the state’s youth were drug addicts.

“This despite the fact that he knew well that he was reading out a sample survey of drug addicts of which youth formed a big share,” he said.

“During the Punjab assembly campaign this year, he insisted he was speaking the truth and even had the gall to ask Punjabis to admit they were drug addicts. Such behaviour coming from the chosen scion of the Gandhi dynasty is shameful,” he added.

A survey done by a team of doctors and researchers of the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research had revealed that drugs abuse in Punjab was just around one per cent of the 2.8 crore population in the state.

Badal said that Aam Aadmi Party leader Kejriwal and “his gang of outsiders had also tried to doom the future of the youth by claiming 40 lakh youth were drug addicts”.

“The PGIMER report puts the entire number of addicts in the state at 2.7 lakh. Other reports, included that conducted by AIIMS, had come out with even lower figures than this,” he added.

A detailed survey by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi had put the drug addiction at 0.84 per cent.

“The Punjab government also got a dope test conducted on 3.76 lakh youth who presented themselves for police recruitment. The test, which was conducted by the Baba Farid Health Sciences University, saw only 1.27 per cent candidates testing positive,” Badal said, citing a survey done during the Akali government last year. (IANS)

 

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Martyr’s daughter withdraws from campaign; college backs her

Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur withdraws her campaign against the violence at Ramjas college after being subjected to mass threats allegedly by ABVP

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Gurmehar Kaur, wikimedia commons

New Delhi, February 28: Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur withdrew from her social media campaign against the ABVP today after allegedly becoming the recipient of a number of threats from the members of the RSS-backed outfit and being badly trolled by the ruling BJP leaders.

Kaur, who is the daughter of martyr Captain Mandeep Singh, has received a lot of support from her college – the Lady Shri Ram college and her act has been termed as sensible and brave by her peers and superiors.

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In to her recent tweet, Kaur said, “I’m withdrawing from the campaign. Congratulations everyone. I request to be left alone. I said what I had to say… One thing is for sure, next time we will think twice before resorting to violence or threats and that’s all this was about.”

Kaur has also mentioned that she has been through a lot, and “this is all my 20 year self could take”.

According to PTI reports, After her withdrawal from the campaign, the DU student will not take part in any activity against ABVP members. She will also not attend a march being conducted by a group of students at the Delhi University today.

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“The campaign is about students and not about me. Please go to the march in huge numbers. Best of luck… To anyone questioning my courage and bravery.. I’ve shown more than enough,” Kaur has stated in a series of tweets.

The Lady Sri Ram college has supported Kaur saying that she is entitled to the right to express her opinion, just like everyone else.

In an official statement the college has said, “We support our student as duty of institutions is to nurture students without fear. Gurmehar has right to express her opinion and she responded sensitively, bravely. She has fulfilled her duty as a young citizen.”

Following the violent events at Ramjas college, The 20-year-old had started the campaign ‘I am not afraid of ABVP’. The campaign went viral and managed to receive a massive support from students of various universities from all over India.

Look for latest news from India in NewsGram.

Yesterday, She had met Swati Maliwal, chief of Delhi Commission for Women and mentioned that she has been receiving a torrent of “rape threats” on social media, allegedly by ABVP members.

Terming the threats as “shameful”, Maliwal has also written to Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik with a demand that an FIR be lodged against the “abusers” and security be provided to the student and her family. Currently, Kaur and her family are being provided protection by DCW Home Guards.

– prepared by Durba Mandal of NewsGram. Twitter: @dubumerang

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Indian Diaspora’s outcry over Rohith Vemula death

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Varnika Mahajan

New Delhi: Rohith Chakravarthi Vemula was a Dalit PhD scholar and an ASA (Ambedkar Students’ Association) member who was suspended from Hyderabad Central University over a political dispute with the ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) last year. On January 17, Rohith committed suicide in a hostel room. The tragic death of Rohith Vemula triggered protests across the country and around the world.

Expressing shock and outrage at 26-year old’s death, widespread protests often termed as an “epochal” moment for India’s students by analysts started erupting at major universities and cities across the US and other regions. The movement is said to bear similarities with the #BlackLivesMatter and #RhodesMustFall movements.

Rohith Vemula was an anti-caste activist, student leader and PhD scholar at the University of Hyderabad (UoH). On January 25, the UoH campus witnessed a huge number of activists storming the premises and organizing large demonstrations.

On January 22, US-based Indian civil society groups gathered in Cambridge’s Harvard Square for the second time in two weeks. The group demanded punishment for those responsible for Rohith’s death.

Globally, along with large protests witnessed in London, demonstrations outside the Indian Consulate in San Francisco, at Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and at the University of Michigan were performed, demanding punishment. Two more are planned on January 30 in Washington DC by the International Commission for Dalit Rights and in New York City by Ambedkar International Mission. Moreover, a letter is signed by more than 150 academics criticising caste discrimination on Indian campuses.

A condolence meeting will also be conducted on January 27 outside the Indian Embassy in Rome, Italy. Also, Harvard University is organising a unified meeting and discussion to highlight Vemula’s death.

Back in India, the scholar’s death resulted in a dilemma for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government with mass demonstrations across the country demanding the criminal prosecution of the two ministers and the VC linked to this incident. Last week, Dalit students rattled a major speech by PM Modi. They chanted slogans demanding justice for Rohith.

The Politics behind it all

The incident turned intense when a chain of emails by two Central Ministers of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was sent to the university Vice Chancellor (VC) Appa Rao, directing pressure. Vemula’s death is directly linked to it.

The caste and class discrimination that the marginalized students have been facing in elite educational institutions along with their anti-Brahminism and anti-Hindu nationalism ideologies paved the way to building tensions between the Ambedkarites and minority student groups against the ABVP and RSS.

The top universities comprise mostly of “upper castes” and Hindus in their administrative staff. This creates a hostile environment for Dalit and minority students. This can be seen in Dalit students’ increasing suicides since past ten years in such exclusive universities when a complaint is made by them against professors, administrators for their biased behaviour.

The death of this aspiring science writer became national news due to various factors- direct involvement of Central Ministers, public criticism and intimidation faced by Rohith and his fellow students and the two influential letters written before his death. The letters which went viral on social media were directed to the VC Appa Rao. The first letter to the VC consists of Vemula providing a solution to the “Dalit problem” on campus, by euthanizing them and distributing them poison and a rope as soon as they secure admission.

Upon receiving no response from the administration even when a month passed by, Vemula committed suicide, leaving behind a suicide note intensely lamenting society’s’ biased eyes which are unable to look beyond people’s most immediate identities – a reference to casteism.

Hue and cry in Cambridge

Dr. Vidya Karunakaran, a PhD from Dartmouth College working with #DalitWomenFight said, “80% of suicides in the elite institutions in India are Dalits and Adivasis. Clearly we have a problem of casteism in our State”.

Dalit student Suraj Yengde, Associate at the Harvard African-American Department and a PhD scholar from South Africa compared casteist India to apartheid situations of South Africa and the Palestinians. He noted the “genocidal tendency” in the systems of oppressions which build tough situations for the oppressed to even live.

Tanoj Meshram, a PhD student in Social Policy at Brandeis University and Central Executive Committee Member and International Coordinator of Mulnivasi Sangh (an offshoot of the All India Backward and Minorities Communities Employees Federation) accused the Indian institutes which promise of political and civil rights but ultimately deny them. He said “educational institutes are supposed to be instruments of social change…but in India, it is shameful to see that they are citadels of the status quo and Brahmanism.”

Organisers including Boston Study Group; Ambedkar International Center; Ambedkar International Mission; Ambedkar Association of North India; Alliance for a Secular and Democratic South Asia; Association for India’s Development, are planning to present a memorandum to the United Nations calling for a Special Rapporteur on Caste Atrocities and constituting an independent working group to assess the conditions affecting the victims of the caste system SCs/STs/OBCs.

Their joint statement reads: “We mourn the loss of a talented, sensitive, and powerful young Ambedkarite and scientist and extend our deep condolences to his family, loved ones, and to the Ambedkarite student community at UoH. We condemn the open support by UoH administration of extreme right wing groups like the RSS affiliated ABVP who have been carrying out a campaign of terror to intimidate progressive forces in society by using BJP’s political networks to protect their cadre and persecute democratic opposition. Rohith’s death is a direct consequence of this right wing persecution in partnership with the casteist and corrupt university administration.”

The organisers, desiring to include other South Asian and human rights groups to join the protest in order to garner speedy action said: “We express our solidarity with the Bahujan and Religious Minorities student resistance movements across all other casteist university spaces in India.” (Inputs from twocircles.net) (picture courtesy: huffingtonpost.in)