University of Delhi: In a bizarre incident, a few students and teachers protesting against the Open Book Examinations (OBE) at gate 01 of the VC Lawn were detained on June 22, 2020. They were held at the Maurice Nagar Police Station but were later released. 3 students of the Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch (BSCEM), an ex office-bearer of the Democratic Teachers’ Front (DTF) along with a few other student organizations’ activists were detained by the Delhi Police.
The organizations anticipated that the police were likely to slap Section 188 on them which terms imprisonment against disobedience toward an order duly promulgated by a public servant. But the activists were later released though the organizations claimed that the police threatened them with punitive actions and manhandled them too. They were released after being made to sign an undertaking that they would not, henceforth, violate the restrictive orders imposed in the city under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
A Zoom press conference was then hosted by the AISA National President, N Sai Balaji, where Professor Satish Deshpande, Professor Nandita Narain and Professor N Sukumar were also present. They conversed on the ‘arbitrariness’ of the OBE which, they pronounced, “only helps in maintaining social hierarchies and baseless meritocracies.” Evidently, the University’s administration held no dialogue with any statutory or student body before rolling out the OBE which has left the rural India students, poor urban students, Kashmiri students, differently-abled students and others in despair.
Other student activists from prominent organizations like AISA, Pinjratod, KYS, SFI, DSU, etc. were also present in the online conference who addressed the “digitally divisive” nature of the OBE highlighting the grievances of the students from various sections of the society and simultaneously condemned the detainment of the activists. They suggested the alternative marking system, which has also been recommended by the Ministry of HRD, which takes into account a composite grade of the Internal Assessments and the previous grades.
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