Many students of Delhi University’s Maharaja Agrasen College were kept confined for several hours in their auditorium on Tuesday, allegedly by the college administration, to prevent them from joining a protest organised by the Delhi University Teachers’ Association against the new four-year undergraduate programme.

All entrances and exits to the college campus were allegedly locked to prevent the students from leaving the college, in case they managed to leave the auditorium.

Teachers and students claimed that the act was planned a day in advance. “A notice was put up, saying there would be a meeting on the four-year programme for all first year students and that attendance was compulsory. The time of the meeting was 11 a.m., exactly when the bus taking us to the protest site was supposed to leave the college,” said a first-year student.

“They told us that the meeting was crucial and that we could leave after that. At the ‘crucial’ meeting, the principal said we would ‘discuss’ the foundation course. When we tried to leave, the exits were blocked and we were told that we could leave after the meeting which went on for hours and ended when it was clear that we could not make it to the protest.”

History teacher Bhupinder Chaudhry said: “Many students were being mobilised for the protest from our college. They informed us later that they were told they would be given extra attendance if they avoided the march. They were allegedly threatened with eviction from hostels and other penalties.”

DUTA is furious. “These acts reek of cowardice and desperation and show the extent to which the university administration and some principals have alienated themselves from the students,” said its president Nandita Narain.

College principal Sunil Sondhi was not available for comments.

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