First Ever Female Prez Of Allahabad Univ. Student Union Alleges Harassment By Authorities

Posted on February 28, 2016

By Abhimanyu Singh for Youth Ki Awaaz:

Source: Richa Singh’s timeline, Facebook.

Allahabad University might probe alleged irregularities in the admission of Richa Singh, the Students’ Union president, after receiving a complaint in this regard. Singh is the first ever female president of the Students’ Union and she alleged in a conversation with Youth Ki Awaaz that she was being harassed for raising questions against the functioning of the University’s Vice-Chancellor and other officials.

K. N. Uttam, the University’s Public Relations Officer, told Youth Ki Awaaz that a “representation” against Singh’s admission in the Ph.D. programme – in which she is currently enrolled – had been received. “The person who has filed the representation contested elections for the Students’ Union last year. We are yet to decide on what to do with it,” Uttam said.

Singh told Youth Ki Awaaz on Thursday that a committee had been formed by the administration to look into the complaint. However, Uttam clarified that it wasn’t so. “No committee has been formed yet,” he said.

Youth Ki Awaaz is in possession of a letter Singh wrote to Smriti Irani, Union Minister, Ministry of Human Resource Development on January 24.

In the said letter, Singh wrote that she, along with others, was “physically attacked and harassed in the university campus on midnight of 19-20th November 2015. My complaint in this regard was sent to MHRD (dated 21 November 2015 through email) and to the office of Vice Chancellor. Despite that, university administration has not yet constituted any inquiry committee and thus initiated any action against the culprits. This shameful act was also raised in the Lok Sabha on 14th November 2015 in your presence.”

Singh and other students were sitting on a hunger strike protesting the scheduled visit of Yogi Adityanath to felicitate the four ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) members of the Students’ Union. The visit did not have Singh’s assent. Adityanath, an MP from Uttar Pradesh, has been known to make provocative speeches and has the reputation of being a Hindutva hardliner.

“Ma’am, the same people who attacked me in the past (19-20 December 2015 midnight) again threatened to physically attack and paint my face, if I go ahead (sic) organizing Siddharth Varadarajan’s (senior journalist and former editor of The Hindu ) lecture inside the university on the topic – Democracy, Media and Right to Expression on 20th January 2016. For that, the letter was sent to your office on 19th January 2016 (through email). Most shocking is that even though threat was made in front of the Vice-Chancellor and the Proctor, no action was initiated,” the letter alleged.

Moreover, Singh alleged in the said letter that she was opposed to the appointment of the new Officer on Special Duty (OSD) to the V-C as he had an FIR against him on charges of “harassment and caste atrocity.”

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