NEW DELHI: A large number of students and teachers of central universities, including Delhi University, today took out a protest march from Mandi House to Parliament Street against the UGC move granting full autonomy to select higher educational institutes, The march, organised by Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) and Federation of Central Universities' Teachers' Associations (FEDCUTA), was joined by leaders of some opposition parties and culminated with a protest meet on Parliament Street.
Addressing the gathering, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said education policies of the Modi government intended to end reservations in higher education.
"This is done by those people who talk about progress in the society. The government is trying to destroy top universities and such effort will end social justice," Karat said.
Commenting about the autonomy given to universities, she said that autonomy given to universities is to ensure that they start courses that fetches more money and give reservation to foreign students.
The CPI(M) leader during the protest also demanded arrest and suspension of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professor Atul Johri, accused of sexually harassing some girl students, and restoration of the Gender Sensitisation Committee Against Sexual Harassment (GSCASH) in the university.
Congress MP Sushmita Dev and AAP MP Sanjay Singh also joined the march.
DU Students Union president Rocky Tuseed said the autonomy granted to universities was a step taken keeping in mind students from economically stronger sections.
JNUSU president Geeta Kumari said that the government appointed vice-chancellors who would abide by its decisions to ensure the reservation policy in varsities were abolished.
The protesters also demanded the universities to follow Vishakha Guidelines in letter and spirit to end sexual harassment on campuses.
The Vishakha Guidelines laid down the requirements for employers dealing with complaints of sexual assault and stipulated the formation of committees to dispose of complaints from victims of harassment.
Offering support to the protesters, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, "It is sad that the central government is scared of education. They have understood the power of colleges and universities properly and that is why they want to destroy it. They are scared that universities and colleges, if go well, their politics will end."
They have destroyed government schools and encouraged private schools belonging to leaders and the country's four to five influential people.
This is what they want to do to colleges and higher education institutions, he added.