New Delhi: Delhi College of Arts and Commerce (DCAC) has pulled out support for the publication of its student newspaper, Critique, students have said. The move came after the cancellation of the college’s annual fest, Scoop, where it was to be launched. BJP MP Subramaniam Swamy was to be chief guest at the event. The college also recently cancelled or postponed events where Swaraj Abhiyan chief Yogendra Yadav and journalist Hartosh Singh Bal were to speak.
According to a DNA report, members of the organising committee said that the fest had been cancelled because “authorities did not find the atmosphere to be appropriate for conducting such an event”.
Talking to The Wire, a student associated with the newspaper said that the student body is now bringing out the newspaper with their own funds, keeping all its content, under a new name, Yatharth.
The DCAC student that The Wire spoke to stated that the newspaper was slated to go in spite of the event being cancelled until the principal, Rajiv Chopra, wanted a particular article removed from the newspaper. The student said that the principal had a problem with the article as it had references to Ramjas College, RSS-BJP backed student organisation ABVP and CPI(M-L) backed AISA. The article was about recent incidents at Ramjas and Delhi University, which had spiralled into a major fracas fuelling a debate on the freedom of expression on college campuses and the political violence and strong-arming of the ABVP.
The student said that the article was neither politically inclined nor ideologically motivated. “It objectively reported on the facts about the Ramjas incident and this was conveyed to the college principal but he still refused to carry the article.”
The student said that the principal asked them to publish the newspaper under two conditions: either the contentious article was to be removed or all references to the college and its faculty was to be taken out of the newspaper. In response to this, DCAC’s journalism students have decided to publish it unofficially, with a few copies distributed among students. Students said that they decided on this after their repeated requests to the principal went unheeded and the paucity of funds to print more copies.
The college principal, Chopra, told The Wire that he was given the newspaper for review on Wednesday morning and needs more time to vet its contents. On being asked about the contentious article, he stated that “he did not have an issue with any article”. Students, however, insisted that the college had set the conditions given above.
This incident adds to the atmosphere of fear being created on college campuses around the country with events being cancelled or postponed to evade prospective violence.