New Delhi: Amidst the echoing call for justice, the resounding rhythm of a drum marked the vibrant strides of Dr. Ritu Singh as she led the charge in the 'Drumbeat for Equality' march. With unwavering determination, she orchestrated a powerful demonstration, championing the rights of the Bahujan and Dalit communities. The pulsating beats of the drum served as a cadence for the demand for justice, as Dr. Singh, flanked by a diverse coalition, sought redress for injustices persisting over the past three years. This compelling event on Monday , unfolded in the heart of Delhi University's North Campus, embarking from the Arts Faculty and culminating at the Vice-Chancellor's office. Dr. Ritu Singh, was subjected to casteism and was allegedly removed from her post.
Beyond being a protest, the march served as a festive celebration of Bahujan and Dalit identities. Individuals from diverse social classes, castes, genders, and religious backgrounds came together to demand justice. Book and stationery stands were set up in front of gate number 4 to encourage the dissemination of Dalit literature. Hindi translations of the constitution were prominently featured, encouraging people to gain a deeper understanding of their rights. Small badges and posters of Baba Saheb Ambedkar were also made accessible to the public at an affordable price.
Dr. Ritu Singh initially led the march to Daulat Ram College's entrance, supported by her community, who provided her with strength. She then called upon Principal Savita Roy, who has been accused of displaying casteist tendencies towards professors and administrative staff belonging to the scheduled castes.
Addressing the crowd, Singh said, “This is the college which is hiding a criminal.” While beating a drum in front of the gate, the professor turned activist continued, “The sound of this drum will be used today to show such criminals that they cannot hide anymore. The principal is still holding her post even after having a chargesheet against her. This will not go on for a long time. My Bahujan brothers and sisters have risen. This march is proof that we will win, and justice will be delivered.”
Advocate Mehmood Pracha, speaking to The Mooknayak, claimed the protest is not letting the government sleep in peace. He said, “The blue wave is not letting Modi ji, Amit Shah, or the Vice Chancellor sleep. We want justice. Every assistant professor needs to be reinstated according to the reserved seats. We would want to ask every professor whose jobs have been snatched to come forward and join us in our fight. We will remove every person appointed by the RSS.” Talking about the political backing, the advocate said, “Many political parties are supporting us in our fight. The public has come together. Now it is time for the remaining leaders to come together.”
A Bahujan businessman from Mahipalpur also joined Dr. Ritu Singh in the march today. He told The Mooknayak, “This protest is against casteism. If we do not come forward, such injustices will continue. If this same incident would have happened with an upper-caste person, they would have already been provided justice. The reason they are not listening to Dr. Ritu is because of her caste. Casteism has polluted everyone’s brain. No one is being able to think freely.” The businessman then opened up about his own experience with the social evil. He said, “The society has not changed. Tomorrow, when you go anywhere and reveal your identity, the behaviour you receive will be dependent on your caste. These age-old customs will not change, no matter how much you dine or walk with the upper-caste community. I have a business and this sector is filled with ‘Guptas’ and ‘Sharmas’. Since my surname is ‘Verma’, I am made to feel that I do not belong in the same space.”
Nakul Sahain, a jobholder in the private sector, said, “This protest is for the whole Bahujan community. Our community unfortunately still faces a lot of atrocities, be it financial or social. We all have faced injustice in various fields which has made it even more important for us to be here. Dr. Ritu is my sister. Through her, we are supporting the entire community with the belief that the day is not far when we will not be facing discrimination because of our identities anymore.”
Ramesh Kumar, Bahujan Samaj Party’s district in-charge from Tughlakabad, was in support of the cause as well. He said, “Bahujan Samaj Party will always stand against casteism and support Bahujan and Dalit communities. This is the reason the party was formed. Everyone who has humanity left in them should come forward and join Ritu Ji in her fight.”
Dr. Ritu Singh faced discrimination based on her caste and was reportedly dismissed from her position. On October 5, a demonstration called the Nyay March, which began at Gate no. 4 of the Arts Faculty in Delhi University's North Campus and proceeded to the Vice Chancellor's Office, witnessed the participation of numerous student union leaders and members of different Dalit and Bahujan organizations.
Dr. Ritu Singh became a temporary professor in the Psychology Department in 2019 when a vacancy arose under the SC category. She taught at the college for one year before her contract was terminated. She claimed that she experienced numerous instances of caste-based discrimination during her tenure, and she asserted that her dismissal from the position was influenced by the principal's casteist attitudes.
From 2020 onward, she has been navigating a challenging legal battle and has been actively involved in organizing various protests.