New Delhi: After a series of diktats surrounding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s presence at Delhi University’s (DU) centenary celebrations on June 30, the Delhi police allegedly entered two student activists’ houses and camped there for nearly five hours to ensure that they did not leave the house and that no disruptions were caused at the event.
Two constables from the Model Town Police Station entered the house of All India Students Association (AISA) Delhi president Abhigyan and AISA DU secretary Anjali without warrants or any other relevant documents, Anjali alleged.
The two, who live in a gated colony in Kalyan Vihar near the University’s north campus, have not been allowed to leave their house since morning by police, who allegedly told them that they “might create ruckus at the DU event.”
Cops allegedly added that this was being done “for the safety of the prime minister.”
“Abhigyan went for an errand at around 9:30 this morning when he saw 5-7 police officers crowding at the main gate. They immediately asked us to take them to our house and said that if we didn’t, then they’ll come anyway because they knew our exact address,” Anjali told The Wire.
They said the police refused to produce a warrant or any relevant document that could prove that this is a legal and justified action taken by the police. “[Police] said they have a list of a few students – ‘people who usually take part in protests and create ruckus on campus’ – so this is for the ‘safety of the prime minister’. They are protecting the prime minister from a few students,” said Anjali.
The constables, Kaberi and Amit Kumar, who left around 2:00 pm, allegedly hid their badges but revealed their names and the police station they came from after the duo talked to them, Anjali said.
Anjali said the police created “a scene” at the main gate which was not only humiliating because of the onlookers but could also lead to eviction from their rented accommodation.
“You know how people are especially with matters relating to the police and it can happen, they might call our landlord and we can be thrown out,” Anjali said, adding that they tried to negotiate with one Sub Inspector Mita who was a part of the contingent.
“After more than an hour of negotiating with the police to make them leave, they didn’t listen to us and came to our house anyway. And for what? We have a right to question them on why we’re being treated as criminals,” Anjali said. “We don’t even know how they knew our exact address and it’s really scary to think they just have access to this information,” they added.
“The University campus has turned into a police cantonment today. We even got calls from our friends in Vijay Nagar that the police were looking for us before they landed here,” Anjali said.
The Wire contacted the Model Town Police station to enquire about the constable’s presence at the students’ house however the SHO disconnected the call as soon as ‘Delhi University’ was mentioned.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the chief guest at DU’s centenary celebrations. Some colleges issued a set of instructions for students, including mandatory attendance and ban on black clothing to prevent any expression of dissent.
In a video message, Anjali said, “The police have been roaming in student localities looking for activists around the campus since morning. They claim it is important for the prime minister’s safety that ‘people like us’ stay inside our homes and that’s why we’ve been held in.”
“All of this has been done to protect the prime minister from accountability. And the entire state machinery has been involved to make sure students attend the event in good numbers. They’ve gone as far as giving extra attendance days to make that happen. Is the country’s prime minister not accountable or answerable to its students at all?” Anjali said.
AISA had also put up posters around the campus on June 29, asking pointed questions to the prime minister. The poster read:
“Why is the fees in our colleges rising every year?
Why are we forced to study courses we did not choose?
Why are chapters on Ambedkar, Gandhi, caste and gender being deleted?
Why has the government cut funding on education?
Why has the unemployment rate risen to 8.1%?
Why are our teachers who have taught us for years being thrown out of the University?”
The student body later released a statement saying: “AISA condemns the undemocratic and atrocious notices released by colleges in welcome of Modi! No black dresses, extra attendance, mandatory presence among other fixes to somehow show support to the Prime Minister! What about the students who will be forced to drop out because of Modi’s NEP 2020? What about those who could not take admission because of the rising fees? What about the students who are forced into unemployment because the government refuses to fill vacant seats? Are they supposed to join the event because the principals wish to remain in good books?”
Meanwhile, the prime minister took the Delhi Metro today to attend the University event and chatted with ‘young co passengers’ about OTTS and Instagram reels, an NDTV report said.