Student leaders express anger over beating and arrest of Pooja Shukla and others

Pooja Shukla, a student activist, was beaten and detained by Lucknow Police on Wednesday after sitting on hunger protest against administration at Lucknow University. 

Pooja Shukla being arrested in Lucknow on WEdnesday- Photo source:

Shukla, who was sitting on hunger protest along with other students and activists, was taken to Gusainganj Police Station of Lucknow and has been there since her arrest on Wednesday evening. 

While this story was being filed, Shukla was at the Lucknow civil hospital for medical tests in which she has been reported with severe dehydration and low blood pressure. 

Pooja Shukla has been constantly protesting against the arbitrary and unexplained decision of Lucknow University for not showing her entrance result. The same has also happened with about 40 other students.

Pooja Shukla gave the entrance examination for Master in Arts in Women Studies on June 4. When the result of the same came up on June 28, Shukla couldn’t find her name on the website. When she inquired about this with the University’s controller of examination, she was told that the orders to hold her results came from the “top”.

Pooja Shukla shot to fame in 2017 when she waved black flags at the convoy of Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of the state, in Lucknow. By then, Shukla was not a student of the University. For the same act, Shukla and others spent more than a month in prison.

Moreover, Shukla, a member of Samajwadi Party, has been raising voices against programs organised by the University – which often dealt with Hindutva appeasement such as Ram Temple – accusing that University has been spending taxpayers’ money to please Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and BJP government in the state.

Prof SP Singh, the University’s vice-chancellor, allegedly told Shukla that it is at his discretion whether he should show the result of anyone or not. However, when Shukla demanded a written explanation from the VC, he did not comply to the request. 

As per her announcement, Shukla sat on fast until death protest on Monday in the Lucknow University campus demanding to see her result or a written explanation from vice-chancellor on why the University could not show the result. 

On the late afternoon of Wednesday, Police forced arrived at the protest site. They, reportedly, first lathicharged on Pooja Shukla and others then they forcefully took them to Gusainganj where the protestors were forced to sit in the Police bus without any FIR or Police action against them. 

Sadaf Jafar, a Lucknow-based teacher and social activist who was accompanying Pooja Shukla and others at the time of arrest, told, “We were forced to sit in the bus without any charge or FIR, given that the health condition of Pooja Shukla and others is on the stake.”

The police action has raised a spark among the Student leaders across the nation. talked with few such leaders and activists. 

Naba Naseem, the union president of Women’s College at Aligarh Muslim University, said, “Since Bhartiya Janta Party came to the power, it has been using state machinery as a whip against students and activists. The tragic episode with Pooja Shukla is another chapter.”

“This is because the Sanghi mindset fears the question and queries the students and their groups have been raising against the government, and they wish to suppress the fear with force,” added Naseem. 

Taking the examples from the events inside Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Geeta Kumari, the president at JNU’s students’ union, told, “With such actions, the government has been trying to crack down on the students’ rights at first. And it is easy to do seeing the easy access to vice-chancellors at the universities.”

“They evict students from the hostel, they delay our thesis submission and PhD viva-voce, they create roadblocks for us every time, and now they are beating and arresting a girl who just wants to see her entrance examination result. This is unacceptable,” said Kumari.

Maskoor Ahmad Usmani, the union president at Aligarh Muslim University, said, “The VC and Lucknow University has been doing this wretched work just to appease Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of the state. The university is trying to stop admissions of those who favor-support the ideology which counters that of the machinery, whether it is NSUI, Samajwadi Party or others.”

Usmani has warned Yogi Adityanath government and VC at Lucknow University that if the result of Shukla and others would not be declared, there will be a large-scale protest everywhere.

Student activists from Banaras Hindu University has also spoken against what has been happening with Pooja Shukla. Vikas Singh, a leader at NSUI and a student at BHU, told, “The government has a perfect model to work on the people. They implemented the same model on girls of BHU last year when they were protesting for their safety inside campus by having the police beat the girls. Now the same is happening with Pooja Shukla at Lucknow University.”

Courtesy: Two Circles



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