Doon University ‘curbs dissent’, bans strikes, protests, gheraos
One of Uttarakhand’s largest state universities — Doon University — has done what JNU or Hyderabad University couldn’t or wouldn’t dare to do. To “curb dissent”, the varsity has come out with what students called “draconian rules” that forbid them from “any form of protest” such as raising slogans, participating in hunger strikes , demonstrations, sit-ins, or even talking to the media.
University faces flak from students
Ironically, by issuing these guidelines the university has landed itself in the very situation it was trying to avoid. On Tuesday, its campus, spread across 22 hectares in Kedarpur, witnessed large-scale protests as angry students boycotted classes and raised slogans demanding “freedom of speech.”
Administrative proceedings also came to a halt for the day as student groups blocked entry to the administrative section.
The controversy was sparked off by the varsity’s recently released prospectus for the academic session 2016-17. Under the section ‘Doon University Students’ Discipline and Conduct Rules’, it is mentioned that “all acts of violence and all forms of coercion such as gheraos, sit-ins, calling media or students/office bearers of other institutions/organisations in the campus or any other act which disrupts the normal academic and administrative functioning of the university and /or any act which encourages, abets or leads to disorder and violence on campus” could invite punishment.
The prospectus also bars students from participating in “hunger strikes, dharnas, group bargaining and any other form of protest by blocking entrance or exit of any of the academic and/or administrative complexes or disrupting the movements of any member of the university community.”
Students said that they were taken by surprise as no such rules were mentioned in the prospectus issued last year. “It was a week ago that we came across these bizarre rules in the prospectus for this year. We decided to speak up and launched a protest. Many of us are being threatened to stop our agitation or face serious consequences. We have been barred from putting up flyers, pamphlets, or any kind of notice regarding our protest in the university campus,” said a student on the condition of anonymity.
The university, which was established in 2005, has 1,300 students from various parts of the country enrolled in it.