DU teachers gherao VC office against appointment of guests teachers instead of ad hoc faculty

New Delhi, Dec 4 (PTI) Protesting against a circular mandating appointment of guest teachers instead of making ad hoc faculty permanent, almost 5,000 Delhi University teachers on Wednesday entered a building housing the VC's office after breaking three gates and allegedly painted graffiti on the historic structure.

The Viceregal Lodge Estate houses the office of the DU vice-chancellor. The teachers, cutting across political affiliations, entered its premises by breaking three gates leading to the office.

The teachers have said they will continue to occupy the building till their demands are met and will also boycott official duties. They said no efforts had been made by the VC to meet the representatives of DUTA.

In the morning, they had assembled at gate number 4 of the university which was closed with a heavy deployment of security personnel. The teachers broke open the gate and barged inside, and then entered through another gate, specially meant for the vice-chancellor, despite security personnel offering resistance.

Later, they marched to the reception area and broke open that gate, thereby occupying the building. The scuffle between the security personnel and teachers also caused injuries to some security personnel, sources said.

The call for an indefinite strike was given by Delhi University Teachers' Association which is led by Left-backed Democratic Teachers' Front (DTF) but it has received support from Congress-backed Academics For Action and Development (AAD) and right-wing outfit National Democratic Teachers' Front.

The walls of the building were painted with slogans 'End slavery and humiliation', 'Our right, Absorption', '#VC down', 'Thank you VC for not thinking about 4000 families'.

DUTA president Rajib Ray denied the charge that the graffiti was was painted by the teachers. 'Teachers have not done it. We do not know who has painted those messages,' he said.

However, some teachers claimed that a section body teaching staff was involved.

According to a teacher, when they reached the office, the vice-chancellor was not present, but some of his staff members were there who left when the teachers entered the building.

Almost 200 teachers are inside the council hall where the Academic Council and Executive Council meetings are held and they were chanting slogans against the administration.

Through the day, the teachers raised slogans like 'DU VC down down', 'yeh shiksha hai, kisi ki jaagir nahi' as they continued to occupy the building.

Rupesh Shukla, a professor at the College of Vocational Studies, said, 'We had given a time of three days to the vice-chancellor to have talks with us but there was no response from his end. We want that there should be one-time absorption of all teachers and promotions that have been denied for long be given to them.' Shukla said that teachers have been advised against harming the university property since it is 'their university' also.

Dr Rasal Singh, a member of NDTF and the varsity's Academic Council called the strike 'historic'.

'Justice should be done with the teachers of DU. Their demands are justified. For the last one decade, promotions and appointments have not happened. They are ending ad-hoc appointments. These problems should be treated with sensitivity,' he added.

While ad hoc teachers are appointed on contractual basis and given a fixed salary, guest teachers are paid on per lecture basis.

The Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) had called a strike and urged teachers to boycott all official duties, including invigilation for exams during the ongoing exams.

Sources said the administration did not receive any complaints of exams being affected or cancelled due to the strike as the members of non-teaching staff were involved.

A majority of duties related to exams are carried out by the non-teaching staff, so no impact was felt, the sources said.

The decision to go on strike has been made on the basis of the DU circular issued August 28 which mandates that only appointment of guest teachers can be made against substantive vacancies arising for the first time in the current academic session.

The teachers are demanding the withdrawal of the circular and a one-time regulation for absorption of ad-hoc teachers.

Teachers said that every four months, the contracts of ad-hoc teachers are renewed but it has not happened owing to the August 28 letter, which has put the future of almost 4,500 ad-hoc teachers in jeopardy.

The JNU Students' Union and Teachers' Association, which is in a tussle with its administration, over the hostel fee hike issue, expressed solidarity with the protesting DU teachers.

Last month, the Jawaharlal Nehru University students had occupied the administration block of the varsity during protest over hostel fee hike and had also painted graffiti on the walls, following which a case was registered by the police.

The existing building served as the residency for five viceroys and witnessed some important events which led to India's Independence. The Viceregal Lodge Estate was given over to the Delhi University in 1933. PTI SLB NIT AAR