New Delhi- In the heart of Delhi University's North Campus, a powerful wave of blue flags bearing the image of Dr. Ambedkar unfurled as Dr. Ritu Singh took to the streets on Thursday to assert her rightful place as a citizen of India. This striking display of unity transcended barriers as individuals from all structurally marginalized communities joined her in a noble quest for justice.
Echoing through the walls of the university were resounding slogans of 'Jai Bhim,' igniting a fervent realization that Dalits and Bahujans could no longer be relegated to the margins of society. In this vibrant tapestry of protest, Dr. Ritu Singh, an ad-hoc professor of psychology at Daulat Ram College, stood as a symbol of resilience against casteism, and her journey to reclaim her rights had ignited a powerful movement that resonated far beyond the campus walls.
Dr. Ritu Singh, was subjected to casteism and was allegedly removed from her post. A Nyay March (Justice March) took place on October 5, which started from Gate no. 4 of Arts Faculty at Delhi University’s North Campus and headed to the Vice Chancellor’s Office. Many student union leaders and party members of various Dalit and Bahujan organizations were part of the rally. The peaceful dissent was conducted in collaboration with Mission Save Constitution, with Advocate Mehmood Pracha, its National Convener, taking an important position in the march.
In a conversation with The Mooknayak, Dr. Singh said, "What you witness here is Inquilab—a rebellion, a resounding call for justice. This is the undeniable power of the blue flag. Casteist individuals may have underestimated the impact of one woman's resolve, but this fight extends far beyond me. It encompasses the ad-hoc professors who have dedicated fifteen years to teaching, wrongfully removed from their rightful positions. When a Bahujan daughter takes to the streets, her society, Ambedkar's society, rises alongside her, revealing the formidable strength of the constitution."
She continued, in a determined voice, "We stand resolute; no political party or currency can sway our commitment. This battle will persist until justice is served to everyone, from my dear brother Rohith Vemula to the young souls at IIT Delhi who fell victim to the scourge of casteism. Delhi University shall not be painted saffron; it shall forever bear the vibrant hue of blue."
Ganga Prasad Anand, a resident of Delhi, was emotionally holding onto a banner of Ambedkar. Talking about his presence in the march, Anand said, “I have come here for my Bahujan sister Ritu. The Manuvadi principal, Dr. Savita Roy, has wrongfully removed her. We will achieve justice. The whole Bahujan Samaj will make sure the principal is put behind bars under the SC/ST atrocities act.” Ashutosh Singh Boudh, a student at Delhi University’s Law Faculty and the president of Bhim Army Student Union, was observed raising slogans at the march. He talked to The Mooknayak about his involvement in the rebellion. The student stated, “Today, a large procession of our Dalit and Bahujan brothers and sisters have come out. We have claimed the streets and public spaces. We would like to request everyone to join us because this is not just our fight. This is a fight against Brahmanism. This is a fight against the Sangh. This is a fight against the people who are ruining the education system.”
Dr. Ritu Singh had joined the Psychology Department as a temporary professor when a vacancy opened under the SC category in 2019. She taught in the college for a year before her contract was terminated. She alleged that during her time, she had faced countless acts of casteism and even her removal from the post was due to the principal’s casteist tendencies.
Since 2020, she has been going through the rocky road of a long legal battle and has been conducting multiple protests. This matter was brought in front of the High Court and the SC Commission when a letter signed by thirty-five students was presented in front of the judge. According to the letter, students were dissatisfied with the pedagogy of Dr. Ritu Singh. But during further investigation, it was discovered that not only did Singh never teach the thirty-five students, but they were not even studying at the institution. A chargesheet was later filed based on the investigation.
Even filing an FIR took a lot of effort. Both Singh and advocate Pracha believe that the investigation is being carried out under a lot of pressure. Investigation Officers have been changed twice so far. Pracha believes that the fact that an FIR took so much time is an act of violation in itself. Action under the SC/ST act should be taken even with a verbal complaint.
Dr. Ritu Singh’s situation is a call back to the institutional murders of other Dalit members such as Rohith Vemula and Payal Tadvi. Society is biased against her and other people of the community. Singh feels that a win for her will mean a win for the entire community.