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DU Order Calling Staff to Work on Eid Termed ‘Insensitive’

Ravi Kaushal |
Teachers’ associations said that the Delhi University notification is an attempt to kill India’s inclusive secular culture.

Image Courtesy: PTI

Teachers associations criticised the Delhi University (DU) administration on Wednesday for asking them to report to work on Eid (Thursday) to complete the preparation for its centenary celebration. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address a joint gathering of teachers, employees and students on June 30.

The teachers said that the notification on reporting to work on Eid undermines the country’s secular character.

The Wednesday notificationread: “The valedictory function of centenary celebrations is scheduled on Friday, the 30th of June, 2023. With a view to completing all arrangements before the function, the university will be observedon Thursday, 29th of June, 2023, as a working day for all the university employees. Employees who wish to celebrate the festival on 29th of June, 2023, are exempted from attending the office.”

Regardingthe notification, Democratic Teachers Frontsecretary Abha Dev Habib, said, “It is not shocking at the present times. Nonetheless, the decision should be condemned for its sectarian mindset, lack of sensitivity and a deliberate attempt to isolate one community.”

According to the Gazette of India, June 29 has been notified as a mandatory holiday for celebrating Eid-ul-Zuha.

“The university was aware of the list of gazetted holidays much before 2023. No emergency or calamity has struck to cancel the holiday. The university could have identified volunteers for the unfinished tasks for the valedictory function,” Habib told Newsclick.

“It is unlikely that the university administration would have taken a similar step on Holi or Diwali. That would have figured in its mind while drawing any schedule,” she added.

Habib alleged that the centenary celebration has already undermined the university’s character and image. “Instead of lectures and functions involving academics of repute, sectarian and non-academic personalities were invited as speakers through the past year. Therefore, it is not shocking that the mandatory Eid-ul-Zuhaholiday was cancelled. Itis anattempt to killDelhi University’s soul and India’s inclusive secular culture.”

The Academics for Action and Development Teachers Association (AADTA), a teachers’ body affiliated with the Aam Aadmi Party, also condemned the decision.

AADTA spokesmanRajesh Jha said, “We oppose the notification, which arbitrarily cancels a gazetted holiday mentioned in the university calendar. Gazetted holidays apply to all employees and how can a notification make it optional?”

Festivals evolved transcending religiosity and acquired cultural roots with celebrations and observation by diverse socio-religious groups nationwide, he added. “Gazetted notifications confirm to the constitutional spirit of secularism whereas the DU notification has taken a very narrow monolithic view of festivals.”

Like Holi, Dusshera, Diwali, Guru Purab and Christmas dates, the date of Eidis also fixed. The observation of Eid spreads the message of sacrifice for social good and welfare. DU’s valedictory function can’t be put in the emergency category to cancel a gazetted holiday,” Jha said.

Replying to an emailed questionnaire regarding the notification sent by Newsclick, DU registrar Vikas Gupta said:“The notification applies to only university employees. It nowhere mentions the colleges.Hence, it does not applyto them.”

Employees who want to participate in the festival “have been exempted. They have been called depending onthe requirement. Such employees shall be compensated by way of leave which they can avail later”, he added.

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