DU teachers made to take pro-CAA pledge during orientation course, they decry it as ‘political’Updated: Jan 17, 2020 21:43 IST
Amid students’ protests against the Citizenship Amended Act (CAA) in colleges across the Delhi University (DU), a section of the faculty alleged that they were made to take pledge to “spread awareness about CAA”, during a lecture held as part of their ongoing orientation course.
Terming the lecture “political” and “having no academic value”, teachers said they will raise the matter with the university administration.
According to teachers attending the course, which is mandatory for their promotions and is being held from January 3 and January 23, they were addressed by Indresh Kumar, chief of RSS’s Muslim body Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), and other members of the manch, during the lecture titled “CAA-facts and myths” on Tuesday.
An assistant professor at an off-campus DU college, requesting anonymity, said attendees were told how “misinformation” about the CAA was creating disquiet in the country.
“During the two-hour lecture, we were told that the CAA is not a threat to any community and the opposition is spreading false information about it among youngsters. There were some Muslim members of MRM who told the teachers that they have no issue with CAA,” he said.
Another faculty member of a north campus college said the teachers were narrated stories of the Partition and the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. “The teachers were also told to take a pledge to spread awareness about CAA. It was absolutely political. The teachers should be given lectures on topics of academic importance rather than political issues. We could not even skip the lecture because it’s mandatory to attend all lectures to be eligible for promotion,” the faculty member said.
As per the University Grants Commission (UGC) regulations for promotion, the faculty members in central universities have to attend 15-20 days of orientation and refresher courses. In DU, the Centre for Professional Development in Higher Education (CPDHE) organise these courses every year.
Professor Geeta Singh, director of the CPDHE, said the lecture was organised on CAA because it’s a topic of “national importance”. “If any faculty member is saying that it’s not an academic topic, then the history of the Partition is also not academic. This is a topic of national importance and every university should hold lectures on it. At a time when people are creating a negative environment in the country in the name of CAA, it’s the duty of teachers to create awareness about it. That’s why we had called Indresh,” she said.
Rajib Ray, president of DU Teachers’ Association (Duta), said the teachers’ body is aware of the lecture. “We have got to know about it but we have not received any complaint in the matter as yet. Teachers may reach out to us after receiving the certificate of the course. Otherwise, they will end up getting poor remarks on their certificates,” he said.
Despite several attempts, Kumar did not respond to calls and texts for comment. Mohammed Afzal, a member of MRM, said he was invited by the university’s centre concerned.
Firoz Ahmed Bakht, an activist, who was also a speaker at the lecture, said, “There was nothing political about it. It’s to create awareness among people about CAA and to make them understand that there is nothing political about it.”