Save Mumbai University Campaign
Press Release: January 12, 2014

State Police stopped Mumbai university students from reaching near the convocation venue to register their silent protest against Prof. Neeraj Hatekar’s unjust suspension on January 12, 2014. Mumbai University security as well attempted to curb students’ voice by confiscating the protest material forcibly on the previous night of the protest. It implies that the university denies freedom of expression to students along with the professor.

Save Mumbai University Campaign organized a silent protest on January 12, 2014 outside the venue of the convocation (i.e. Sports Complex, University of Mumbai, Kalina) against the unjust suspension of Dr. Neeraj Hatekar amidst the larger cause of the apathy of the administration towards the functioning of the University. MU students informed the Mumbai University administration and Bandra-Kurla Complex police station about the protest and students ensured the officials that the protest would be silent and every precautionary measure will be taken to maintain the peace in the university campus and at convocation venue.

However, on the protest day, a police contingent comprising of 30-40 officials blocked the route of students’ march (more than 100 students). Students’ march was told that the police has been instructed by the University Administration to prevent the protesting students from reaching anywhere near the designated venue of the convocation. On being asked whether the University administration has given any such request to the police in writing, the police officials refused to respond.
After several requests to the police for more than one and half hour, the protestors decided to launch their protest at the University Gate facing Grand Hyatt. Students expressed their protest through various banners, placards and other written materials in a peaceful manner without any disruptions.
On the previous night of the protest, security officials of the University threatened the students and confiscated the material forcibly. The students were warned about strict and severe police action against them. The students silently demanded a official undertaking from the security officials and inquired about the applicable law under which the material was being confiscated. Failing to provide the both, the officials returned the materials. The altercation with the university security officials lasted for over two hours and ended at 12 am.
On this backdrop:
1) The attempts of preventing students from registering their protest in silent manner are strongly condemned.
2) First, when Dr. Neeraj Hatekar raised 16 points highlighting irregularities in the functioning of the university. The University responded by suspending him, and hence denying him his right to freedom of speech and expression.
3) Now, when the students have tried to raise a voice against the suspension and against mismanagement in the University. The University has responded by trying to stop the silent and peaceful protests of the students and hence deny them their right to freedom of speech and expression.
4) The Save Mumbai University Campaign has been protesting against the violation of freedom of speech for the past 7 days. However, it is evident that the University administration does not respect the fundamental rights guaranteed to each and every citizen of India by the Constitution of India.
5) Taking into account, the insensitivity shown by the university officials towards the issues raised by the campaign, the campaign team is considering the possibility of a chain hunger strike.

– Save Mumbai University Campaign




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