The Delhi government has asked Ambedkar University to not take any action against the students who had made “distasteful remarks” against Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Deputy CM Manish Sisodia. Though the university had slapped a fine of Rs 5000 on the student, a letter from the AAP government said, the matter should have been first brought to the notice of the CM’s office instead of taking immediate action.
“A university should be a safe space for students to freely voice their opinions, debate, and develop their point of views," said deputy CM Manish Sisodia in a letter to the varsity.
The deputy CM directed the Principal Secretary, Higher Education to ensure that the fine on the student is cancelled and to issue relevant directions to all universities under the Delhi government to further make sure that no action is taken against students voicing their opinion.
“No student should be punished for exercising their right to free speech within the university space," the letter read. It also added that students are the “future of our country" and they should be allowed to critique, comment and develop their own voice.
Sisodia also stated that “if voices of criticism and dissent cannot be expressed against political leaders in our country, then we are no longer a democracy but a dictatorship," adding that the Right to Freedom of Speech must be allowed for every student.
The alleged remarks were made by the student during the annual convocation of the university held in December last year, where Kejriwal was the chief guest. “The comments made by the student were derogatory/slur/distasteful. The convocation is the most auspicious programme in the academic cycle of any student. The conduct… was unbecoming of a student and was against the values for which Dr B R Ambedkar University stands," the university said in a statement earlier. The university had also stated that the student will be allowed to appear for the exams from June 30 only after compliance with the punishment.