AISA Letter to President of India

On October 31, AISA wrote a letter to the President of India Droupadi Murmu regarding student's protest in Allahabad University and issue of attack on campus democracy and misuse of administrative authority by the University Proctor. Expressing the deep sense of concern and anguish, the letter noted "We all know, that Allahabad University has been rightly recognised in the world as the 'Oxford of the East' due to its academic excellence. But what made the academic excellence of Allahabad University distinguished & significant was its accessibility and inclusiveness for the common people of India, especially students coming from marginalised sections of the society. To make the campus democratic and vibrant so that the interests of students remain not just merely protected but the students themselves inculcate the constitutional values before going into society and contribute to its overall development, the student union of Allahabad University has also made a significant contribution. Unfortunately, all these great achievements of Allahabad University are rapidly being diminished as the present university administration continues to undermine all the principles of democracy and inclusiveness."

Last week on October 17, Allahabad University Chief Proctor Rakesh Singh brutally assaulted AISA AU unit president and dalit student Comrade Vivek for standing up for the rights of the students. Along with Comrade Vivek, other students who were also protesting against the curtailment of student rights and for democratic campus have been abused with casteist slurs and attacked. Earlier, students were already in rage against the illegal suspension of AISA UP Vice-president Comrade Manish Kumar.

The letter further noted that students have been persistently protesting against the overall 400% fee hike in all subjects of Allahabad University. They have been consistently sitting on hunger strike to protest against the massive fee hike, which the students rightly believed that it would have detrimental consequences for the aspirations of students to study at Allahabad University and would exclude a larger section of students coming from weaker and marginalised communities. Instead of addressing the legitimate concerns of the students, what we had seen was the forceful repression on then going protest. Some student leaders who were carrying out that protest have been sent behind bars in a completely unjustified manner on baseless allegations by the university administration. Two students, Ajay Yadav and Jitendra Dhanraj, continue to languish behind bars for democratically protesting against fee hike and demanding restoration of Allahabad University Student's Union Elections. 

Later, it has come to notice that many student leaders who have tried to raise this issue of unreasonable imprisonment and, therefore, the release of student leaders involved in the protest against fee hike have also been served suspension notice and a campus entry restriction order has been issued against them. AISA noted that it believes that it is not mere coincidence on the part of University Chief Proctor Rakesh Singh that all these students who have been targeted and suspended come from the Dalit community and the Backward class. 

"Moreover, in an unprecedented move in the history of Allahabad University, the administration refused permission to one of the suspended students Harendra Yadav to sit for exams even when no official inquiry committee till then has been set up to look into the matter, the letter added. 

Regarding the attack of October 17, AISA said that after Vivek sustained severe injuries, students gathered at the Colonelganj Police Station, under whose jurisdiction Allahabad University comes, to demand the registration of an FIR against the Proctor Rakesh Singh. Even when students had provided substantial and corroborative evidence and sat there for more than eight hours, the student's complaint hadn't been registered. Following the day of the incident, students met with the ACP of the jurisdiction who gave assurance that their complaint would be registered but later it also proved to be a false promise.

It is the fundamental right of all the citizens guaranteed under Article 19 of the constitution to peacefully gather and protest. It is under this democratic spirit, that student of Allahabad University are fighting for their rights and campus democracy. Unfortunately, the university administration has adopted this undemocratic stance and characteristic of brutally suppressing students’ demands & punishing them for practising and exercising their constitutional rights. 

AISA has put forwarded following demands in the letter for urgent consideration: 

  1. Release all the student leaders under imprisonment who were involved in the fee hike protest.
  2. Suspension and campus entry restriction orders against all the student leaders must be revoked.
  3. Strict legal action must be taken against Chief Proctor Rakesh Singh under SC/ST Atrocities Act for brutally assaulting a Dalit student and he must be removed from his position.