The university, in its notification, issued on Tuesday, June 27, also mentioned that the employees who wish to celebrate the festival on June 29 are exempted from attending the office.
The Delhi University in the notification has justified its action saying that that June 29 has been marked as a working day because of the Valedictory Function of DU’s Centenary celebrations, scheduled for the next day on June 30, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be the chief guest.
Reacting strongly to the notification, Abha Dev Habib, Secretary of Democratic Teachers Front, said, “We just saw this notification and it looks very sectarian and its approach is not acceptable and therefore we have issued a statement saying that it should be withdrawn.”
“It is one thing that those officers or those people who have been given a job are requested to come and compensated later, but to say that, you know, all employees will have to come and, only those will be excused who are celebrating this festival. They have not even been able to say it, Eid. So I mean, we could only read it in this manner, that it is completely sectarian,” she said.
In a statement, the Democratic Federation of Teachers also said June 29 is a mandatory holiday for celebrating Id-ul-Zuha and has been notified in the Gazette of India.
When asked about the exemption of employees as mentioned in the notification for June 29, Habib said, “Everything has to be looked at in a context and the way things are in the country. I mean, if we are really wanting to be secular if we want to be democratic, we need to be a little more careful on this. You are basically saying that this is a festival of few and those who can. So, can a Hindu employee say that I celebrate Eid, will they be questioned later? But all these are things which come to my mind given the things which are happening in the country.”
While speaking to ANI, she said that the DU will be actually called a “university” when this circular is withdrawn.
On asked if the front has spoken to Vice Chancellor regarding this, Habib said, “No, we do not call the Registrar or the Vice Chancellor. I don’t think that they will entertain phone calls over this. It is for them to apply their mind on this”.
“Writing the letter is a protest. It is not to say that the Prime Minister cannot come. I mean, we have no business in that. But what we are saying is that there is a gazetted holiday. It is well-announced. It is not that suddenly the university has realized that there is a holiday and they needed 24 hours more for the situation. They already knew it from the very beginning. Doing this is a policy of exclusion and also in some sense, you are labelling and saying that those who want to celebrate this festival and what is this festival? Can’t you even name that festival?” she remarked further.
Reacting to the statement issued by teachers front, Vikas Gupta, Registrar, Delhi University told the media, “This is wrong. Depending upon our requirements, we have declared that the university will function on June 29. The people who wish to take participate in the festival have been exempted. This order is applicable only to the university and not to the colleges. If any teacher from the college is making an issue out of it, there is no need for it. And depending upon our requirements, we have called the employees to the office.”
“Gazetted holidays do not mean that you will not function. If you go with thier understanding then everybody will stay at home on gazetted holidays. There are requirements and the persons are bound to work. I don’t think that we have done anything wrong,” he added.
“For the employees who would come on June 29 or a holiday, the university would adequately compensate them by giving a compensatory leave which they can avail anytime,” he added further.