How to deal with sexual harassment in DU? Here’s how

October 2nd, 2007

Everybody knows that sexual harassment is rampant in Delhi University. Girls endure lewd comments and even groping on an almost daily basis. It goes on inspite of article XIV-D and heavy policing on campus. In fact, the police seems to add to the problem for they are very evidently not sensitized to the issue and just can’t deal with the problem in an acceptable manner. It is obvious that some institutional changes are required to tackle this problem.

United Students has recommended that the following steps be taken to deal with this menace in an effective and lasting way:

1. Install gates to make North Campus an enclosed university area, with regulated entry through the use of tokens.

2. Establish a university security force, which ought to be specially sensitized to deal with cases of sexual abuse, and should comprise of a good number of student volunteers. The force must’ve a 50/50 male-female ratio.

3. Establish a strong statutory body on the lines of the GSCASH [Gender Sensitization Committee Against Sexual Harassment] in JNU to deal expeditiously with cases of sexual harassment against students, teachers and karamcharis.

Some more pics of the protest

October 2nd, 2007

 (All photographs by Aditya Raj Kaul)
(Click on photographs to view full image)



US protests sexual harassment in Delhi

October 2nd, 2007


On the occasion of Daughters Day [Sunday, 23rd September 2007] United Students, Delhi’s premier students organization organized a protest meeting at Central Park, CP to highlight the recently reported and shocking cases of sexual harassment in Delhi University and to suggest remedial measures.

Background: Candidates appearing for a police recruitment test in the North Campus on Sunday, 16th September had violently molested several girls in the campus area. Many of the victims belonged to the Indraprastha College and when the girls had gone to the police about the incidents, the cops on duty had refused to file complaints, and had passed insensitive comments to boot.

Its only after several hundred students assembled in front of the Vice Chancellor office within the next 3 days to demand justice, was the administration woken out of its slumber, once the media and the National Commission for Women had got involved in the issue.

However, over the last three weeks the university administration as well as the NCW has done little about this case, and are also clueless about how to deal with the recurring problem of sexual harassment in the campus.

Thus, United Students decided to take this issue out to the common people of Delhi, by organizing a large protest meeting in Connought Place, and by involving parents and guardians of students of the university. We got a great response from the people of Delhi, and everybody was one on the view that sexual harassment has become rampant in the city, and there is pressing need of changes at the insitutional level to deal with this menace.

The International Day of Non-Violence

October 2nd, 2007

Mahatma Gandhi

On the occassion of the International Day of Non Violence, I’d like to highlight the following comment made to a post in this community by Akshay Bakaya in the past:

The idea of Ahimsa Day, International Day of Non-Violence is an initiative of an English language class of mainly Japanese and Korean children in Paris, working on Attenborough’s film ‘Gandhi’. This proposal was taken to the 2004 Bombay WSF by Peace Nobel laureate, Shirin Ebadi of Iran, and supported by Romila Thapar, Asma Jahangir, Noam Chomsky, K.R. Narayanan, Immanuel Wallerstein, etc. Krishna Kumar (now director NCERT) had predicted that this call will take 3 years to be properly heard…

Hard News, the Indian associate of the international French monthly Le Monde Diplomatique, supported the initiative. Editor Sanjay Kapoor discussed it with Mohsina Kidwai, General Secretary of the Indian National Congress, who took it to party president Sonia Gandhi just before the January 2007 Satyagraha convention where archbishob Desmond Tutu on January 30th formally proposed that a call for an ahimsa day (on 2nd October) be sent to the UN.

Delhi University Election Results

October 2nd, 2007

Nikhita Arora of United Students finished fourth for the President’s post in the recently concluded Delhi University Students Union elections securing 1156 votes.

This is a decline from last year, when Aaditya Dar of US got 4,300 votes for the same post, but it should not be forgotten that polling this year was at an all-time low of 25% as opposed to 53% last year.

United Students takes pride in the fact that it is perhaps the only independent [of political affiliation and ideology] group that has stood the test of time to contest 2 consecutive DUSU elections, and we shall continue to take up students’ issues at all possible fora.

Thank you all for your support during the campaign. In particular I’d like to thank Nikhita Arora [for contesting inspite of family pressure], Ekta Marwaha, Krishna Kaul, Vaishali Rawat, Vindhya Malik, Sonakshi Babbar, Ishita Tiwary, Nupur Mittal, Kush Verma, Nikhil Bhaskar, Vikas, Dhananjay, Shruti, Samar, Upen, Dhruv Suri and last but not the least Mr. Sanjay Kaul.

Posted by: Ritwik Agrawal for United Students.

Nikhita Arora to run for president

August 31st, 2007

Nikhita Arora, a student of Economics (Year III) of Kirori Mal College is contesting for the post of President of the Delhi University Students Union [DUSU] under the banner of United Students on ballot no. 6.

 United Students, a premier grouping of Delhi University students intervened in the DUSU polls last year too, with its presidential candidate Aaditya Dar [who was the only anti-quota candidate in the fray] securing 4,300 votes and finishing third, ahead of the representatives of several established political parties.

During the course of its campaign so far, the group has highlighted its work for the student community in the last one and a half year, and is taking up the issues of clean politics, transportation for students, safety [especially of girl students], cleaning up of toilets, reservations etc.

For more information, and to help out, please contact Ritwik on 9873554908 or Nupur on 9868870647 or Kush on 9810208668.

United Students

August 12th, 2007

United Students is a Delhi based society for the development of new leadership for an emerging India. This will take young Indians who can visualise a new ethos of governance as our country prepares itself to be a fore-runner among nations in this century. We seek to federate students all across the city and country in a cohesive unit to take up issues of governance.

This website has been set up to serve as a platform for youth to discuss and debate issues, pool their resources and strategise to make things move in the direction they want.

To learn more:
1. See a list of Frequently Asked Questions
2. See a brief highlight of our work on the About page.
3. See the Community page to become involved.

United Students on Aaj Tak to “Bring Yamuna Back”

August 12th, 2007

Footage from TV show with Dilli Aaj Tak to “Bring Yamuna Back”, shot at Hans Raj College, University of Delhi:

Supreme Court rules out OBC reservations this academic year

August 12th, 2007

In a major embarrassment for the government, the Supreme Court on Wednesday (8th August 2007)declined to lift its freeze on reservations for other backward classes (OBCs) in institutions of higher learning for the current year, signalling a victory for anti-quota advocates.A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said the government had not advanced any new reason for the court to revoke its March 29 order suspending the law.

A stunned Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh declared: “There is no question of any contradictory view to that of the Supreme Court. We will abide by it.”

Apart from Justice Balakrishnan [also the first Dalit Chief Justice of India], the bench also comprised of Justices Arijit Pasayat, R.V. Raveendran, C.K. Thakkar and Dalveer Bhandari.

It may be recalled that a bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and LS Panta had on March 29, 2007 suspended the implementation of 27 percent OBC quotas, raising no less than twenty five constitutional queries regarding the move.


 United Students would like to remind readers that we’ve consistently endorsed an alternative system of affirmative action, called MIRAA [multiple index related affirmative action] which is free of the defects of flat caste based quotas. Read more here.

Supreme Court to hear OBC issue from August 7

August 1st, 2007

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday decided to hear from August 7 the issue of Constitutuional validity of the law providing 27 percent quota for the OBCs in elite educational institutuions.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said that the matter will be heard by a five-judge constitutuion Bench.

The Court will hear on July 31, the Centre’s application seeking vacation of the March 29 interim order staying the implementation of the provision of the controverstial legislation providing reservation for the OBCs.

A Bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and L S Panta on March 29 had stayed the implementation of section six of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act 2006 providing quota for the OBCs in Central educational Institutions.

The same Bench had on earlier two occassion refused the Centre’s plea for its vacation.

Protest against killer bluelines

July 18th, 2007

Citizens for good governance, involving RWAs of Delhi, NGOs and civil society activists will meet to protest the ‘licence to kill’ policy of the Delhi Government’s transport department and to highlight the non-serious attitude of the Government on the issuewith a Candle Light vigil for those who have lost their lives in road accidents by killer buses and a deadly policy.

Date: 19th July 2007
Venue : Jantar Mantar
Time : 5.30 p.m.

Please be there along with members of your staff, family or friends to bring attention to this burning issue.

For details, contact us on 9811153833, 9868148896 or 9811400644

Supreme Court stays proceedings in Sabharwal murder trial

July 12th, 2007

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the trial in the Sabharwal murder case raising questions whether there is any mockery of justice hoping that the case would not go the ”Best Bakery” way where all the witnesses turned hostile.

The court also sought an explanation from the Madhya Pradesh Government what action it has taken against the police officers turning hostile witnesses.

Voicing concern over the manner in which the police officers who were reportedly eyewitnesses to the killing of the Ujjain professor turned hostile, a bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and D K Jain hoped that the case does not turn out to be another ”Best Bakery” incident where all the witnesses turned hostile.

”What action have you taken against those police officers who resiled from their earlier statements? Would not the trial be a mockery if your police officers turned hostile?,” the court asked.

‘Our anxiety is that every police officer will be given a clean chit. We have seen what has happened in the Best Bakery case,” the bench said looking towards the MP government’s counsel who was present in the court.

Professor Sabharwal died after he was allegedly beaten by ABVP workers outside the Madhav College campus on August 26 last year following the cancellation of the student union polls.

The state government has been asked to reply within four weeks specifying what action it has taken against the three policemen who withdrew their statements.

(Source: NDTV | link)

US writes to E. Sreedharan, to meet Transport Minister

July 8th, 2007

Press Release

Delhi University students ask for Metro fare reduction: transport to College costs more per month than the course fees for the whole year, say students.
· To meet transport Minister Haroon Yusuf on Monday 9th for shuttle bus services and additional DU specials

New Delhi, 8th July 2007:  Students of Delhi University under the United Students group have written to the DMRC Chief E. Sreedharan asking him to revise his view on offering students a special metro fare.

Students had earlier written to him suggesting that a special fare could be worked out for students going to and coming back from the Vishwavidyalaya Station only as a beginning but he had cited losses as a reason to deny the possibility. Students have yesterday written to him again asking him to reconsider the decision as in many cases the cost of transport to and from the DU was more than the annual fees. Students have also argued that a comparison with other metros shows that students everywhere get preferential rates.

Krishna Kaul, who is coordinating the Metro fare issue for United Students in his letter has also asked that the DMRC Chairman support their demand with the Fare Fixation Committee.

In a related development, Transport Minister Haroon Yusuf has agreed to meet a delegation of United Students members in relation with the issue of starting Shuttle Bus services for the North and South Campus which has added to the transport costs of students. The meeting has been fixed for 3.30 in the afternoon at the Minister’s office.

“Students have to shell out 20-30 rupees for traveling within the campus in the North while eveningers and others have to pay exorbitant rates to autos from Dhaulakuan to the South campus merely because there is no convenient way to travel this distance for students,” said Ritwik Agarwal who is coordinating the Shuttle Bus issue for the group.

Students expect to convince the Minister that a hop-on, hop-off shuttle bus service could take care of the entire issue without costing a lot of money in both the campuses.

“The introduction of a shuttle in the North and South Campus will not only save students precious amounts of money but also make the campus a cleaner place and far safer for girl students”, said Nupur Mittal, also a coordinator for the group.

Aldeena Raju, a Miranda House student and a US member said, “Today in the North Campus, hundreds of cycle rickshaws, buses, cars, motorcycles have made the campus look like a fish market while allowing hundreds of unauthorized people entry into the campus. A shuttle service will allow only authorized entry and provide a single mode of transport for students, faculty and service providers.”

Similarly in the South Campus, students, particularly girl students who cannot afford to pay Rs. 20 for trips between Dhaulakuan and the South Campus are often having to walk the distance come rain, heat or a dark evening. This needs to be stopped in the interest of safety and convenience, said the students.

For more information pl. contact Ritwik on 9873554908 or Nupur on 9868870647

9% GDP growth is widely inclusive

June 27th, 2007

(By: Swaminathan S Anklesaria Aiyar)

The leftist critics are right when they say India’s record GDP grow-th is bypassing rural millions. This tragedy arises from massive government failure to provide decent education and infrastructure to every village despite 60 years of gargantuan but wasteful spending. India’s cities have been connected to the global economy and have taken off. The villages have not.

But does this justify criticism that 9% GDP growth benefits only a thin upper crust of the population? Not at all.

No economy can grow at 9% unless a wide swathe of people simultaneously increase their productivity and output. Caveat: in small economies, a single mineral deposit can raise GDP without widespread citizen involvement. These exceptions apart, 9% growth is rare across the world precisely because it is so difficult to rapidly improve the productivity of most of the population.

The plain fact is that 9% growth cannot be non-inclusive. It can be achieved only by aggregating the efforts of hundreds of millions. Now, widespread inclusion is not the same thing as complete inclusion. Significant sections are excluded in India, especially in badly-governed states. Still, 9% growth is widely inclusive, and could never have been achieved by a thin upper crust.

Mobile phone connections in India are growing at the rate of six million per month, or 72 million per year. With telecom towers coming up in rural areas, the number of mobile connections is expected to soon hit 500 million. Clearly, this represents wide inclusion, not a thin upper crust.

The number of households with TV sets was just one million in 1980, mostly black and white TVs. Today, 120 million households have TV sets, mostly colour TV. When close to two-thirds of all households have what was an elite privilege in the heyday of socialism, let us celebrate this as a success of inclusion.

Forbes magazine’s list of dollar billionaires has two new Indian entrants, K P Singh of DLF and Ramesh Chandra of Unitech. Critics find it awful that Singh and Chandra have so much wealth when others have so little. But Singh and Chandra used to be non-entities, and have become billionaires only because the price of the few thousand acres they own has skyrocketed. The same price rise has benefited every home and farm owner. Urban land in Delhi goes for Rs 2 lakh/square yard, and rural land in Haryana sells for up to a crore per acre. So, rising real estate prices are actually very inclusive. They benefit all from the jhuggi owner to the small farmer. Even those recorded as landless in rural India have homesteads. A small minority with no house or land at all have missed the bonanza. But the vast majority of Indians have gained.

India’s 9% growth is not, as some people think, due largely to the information technology (IT) exports. Indeed, India’s National Accounts do not even list IT services as a separate category. These services are lumped into the category ‘real estate, ownership of dwellings, business and legal services’. The real impact of IT is grossly underestimated by official data, since GDP is based on a historical composition of the economy, where IT had a tiny role. If you exclude IT altogether from GDP, the growth of the rest of the economy will probably be 9%.

Services account for most of the economy. The largest services sector is ‘trade hotels and restaurants’, which has been growing at 8-10% for many years. This is not run by the Ambanis or software giants.

Millions of urban and rural folk are employed in trade. Hotels and restaurants mean, overwhelmingly, dhabas, pavement vendors in cities and tea-shop owners in villages. Our formal statistics have no good way of measuring this unorganised sector, and so unfortunately miss large parts of it.

Activist Madhu Kishwar estimated some time ago that almost half the households in Delhi were engaged in street hawking and cycle rickshaws. Both these activities are largely illegal, and hence, poorly captured properly by official data.

The fastest-growing sector is communications (23.9% in 2005-06). The telecom revolution benefits a wide swathe of people, not an upper crust. Transport, another fast-growing sector, also benefits a wide swathe. Finance and insurance are booming. Millions of the uninsured now have cover. Consumer credit has spread the benefits of credit to millions of buyers of TV, white goods, vehicles and homes. Micro-credit has reached over 10 million poor women.

Official data show that almost 60% of Indians are engaged in agriculture. This is misleading. Agriculture is a seasonal occupation. Most rural workers do multiple casual jobs. A rural worker who spends 51% of his time in agriculture is classified as agricultural, even though 49% of his work may be in services, construction and rural processing. One study estimated that 70% of new rural jobs for women were in construction (which is growing by 14%, and employs millions).

If all Indians participated in today’s boom, i imagine GDP growth would be 15%. Clearly, we need more inclusion of those left out today. But equally we must scotch the notion that only a thin upper crust of Indians is benefiting. India’s growth is widely, though not fully, inclusive.

(source: Times of India  |  link)

Petition for speedier trial in Nitish Katara case

June 27th, 2007

A US member Vindhya Malik has started a new petition to press for a speedier trial in the Nitish Katara murder case.

The case has been dragging on for years and the main defendant Vikas Yadav has recently submitted a list of thirteen defence witnesses, in what appears to be a clear ploy to further delay proceedings.

Sign the online petition here:

See the blog here: