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Uproar over caste census in DU

Do SC/ST teachers in Delhi University face any "difficulties" in their college? Do they get "cooperation from colleagues/college authorities"?

india Updated: Jun 20, 2006 03:14 IST

Do SC/ST teachers in Delhi University face any "difficulties" in their college? Do they get "cooperation from colleagues/college authorities"? The DU administration has sent a circular to all colleges, asking teachers from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes to fill a form and answer the above two questions. The colleges are also asked to keep a roster of their SC/ST staff in every department.

As caste politics enters the staff room, the move is being opposed by both general-category teachers and the SC/ST Teachers’ Association.

The circular (which is with HT) has been issued by H.H. Baa, deputy registrar (colleges). It asks college authorities "to circulate the performa… amongst the teaching faculty belonging to SC/ST categories and arrange to get it filled by them. It is also requested to provide a copy of the roster maintained by the college in each teaching department". This roster is of the teaching and non-teaching staff who belong to the SC/ST category.

Baa was not available for comments but sources confirmed that he sent the circular.

Former president of the Delhi University Teachers Association, Aditya N. Mishra, said, "How can the university create a distinction between teachers on the basis of caste? This is unfair and appalling. If a teacher has a grievance, the university should take action. "

Dhani Ram, a member of the DU's SC/ST Teachers' Association who has written a letter to Baa protesting against the circular, says, "Why are SCST teachers being singled out for special treatment? The circular is unparliamentary and unconstitutional. It is not even relevant under the university rules. So on what basis did the deputy registrar issue it?"

He said it was ironical that the form, which asked SC/ST teachers to elaborate if they faced any difficulties from the college administration, was routed through the principal. "In the past, the university never addressed the grievances of the SC/ST category but this new form makes a mockery of them," said Ram.

Although none of the college principals was willing to come on record, they agreed that the move was bound to create tension. "This is in poor taste. Instead of addressing the problems faced by SC/ST teachers, the university has created problems even for general-category teachers," said the principal of a top college. "There are murmurs of dissent in my college,” he added.