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Mumbai: TISS students call latest circular undemocratic

Updated on: 26 April,2024 07:18 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Dipti Singh |

Accuse college administration of stifling democracy with the new set of stringent regulations

Mumbai: TISS students call latest circular undemocratic

TISS has released a circular imposing constraints on political matters

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Mumbai: TISS students call latest circular undemocratic

Students at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, argue that the most recent circular has gone too far in limiting democratic freedoms on campus.  Just days after suspending a Dalit PhD scholar and placing nationwide restrictions on his campus access for his involvement in a January demonstration outside Parliament, the institute has now released another circular imposing even tighter constraints on engagement with political matters.

The new directive prohibits faculty and students from organising or participating in demonstrations, protests, or processions of any kind within and in front of the gates of all TISS campuses. Additionally, it extends the restrictions to online activities, prohibiting students and faculty from initiating or engaging in online petitions, marches, flash mobs, or even viewing, screening, or broadcasting events, seminars, workshops, meetings, etc., related to political issues.

April 24 circular
April 24 circular

Last week, Ramadas Prini Sivanandan, also known as Ramadas KS, and the general secretary of the Progressive Students Forum (PSF), faced a two-year suspension and ban from all TISS campuses, including those in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Guwahati, and Tuljapur. Ramadas's suspension and debarment stem from several incidents, including the screening of the banned BBC documentary 'Raam Ke Naam' on campus, organising controversial events, and participating in protests.

The TISS administration issued a public notice on April 18 outlining Ramadas’s involvement in activities deemed to violate the institute’s disciplinary rules. These activities included organising a Bhagat Singh memorial lecture with speakers considered contentious, staging protests outside the director’s bungalow at midnight with loud slogans, and promoting the screening of the documentary Ram Ke Naam via social media platforms. The recent circular imposing restrictions on students and faculty regarding activities against or in support of any political leader or issues has sparked discontent among several student unions on campus.

The circular issued on April 24 by the institute reads: “All faculty, staff, and students are hereby informed that on 16th March 2024, the Election Commission of India announced the date of Lok Sabha Elections 2024, and with this, the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) came into force, regulating electoral governance. Accordingly, the following activities shall remain strictly prohibited within the campus till the completion of the election process.”

The circular issued by Narendra Mishra, officiating registrar of TISS, further warned: "The above list is only illustrative and not exhaustive and is not intended to substitute any other detailed orders, directions/instructions on the above subjects, which must be strictly observed and followed. Any violation of the above will be dealt with strictly as per rules." Professor Manoj Kumar Tiwari, In-charge Vice-Chancellor or TISS couldn't be reached for comments.

The circular restricts students
>> Demonstrations, protests, or processions at TISS campuses.
>> Screenings or online events on political topics.
>> Marches, flash mobs, or online petitions supporting political entities.
>> Disrupting operations.
>> Using institute property for banners, flags, slogans.
>> No chaotic behaviour or unauthorised entry; students must carry IDs.

April 24
The day the circular was issued

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