TOI's Bennett University Asks Students to Sign 'No Anti-National' Acts' Pledge
Bennett University wants its students and their parents to sign an undertaking against "anti-national activities."
The Bennett University, owned by the Times of India group, has asked its students and their parents to sign an undertaking stating that they will not “get involved in any anti-national activity directly/indirectly” during their course duration at the university.
The undertaking form was sent to the students in a mass email on Monday evening (14 March), stating that this is in line with “the directives received from the State Government”. The Bennett University is situated in Uttar Pradesh’s Greater Noida.
The Quint has accessed a copy of the mail and the undertaking form, which states that:
“I/We undertake, not to indulge in, nor support (overtly or covertly) or promote, whether directly or indirectly, in any type of Anti National Activity or Anti-Social Activity...whether in the University campus, outside the University campus or by using the name of the University, howsoever and wheresoever.”
The undertaking further says that if any student is found guilty of such activities, they would be liable to the consequences “including immediate expulsion from the University.”
The undertaking also asks the students to report and bring to the knowledge of the university “if any other student or professor has indulged in any Anti National Activity or is associated or engaged in any terrorist activity.” It also states that the university too “retains its unfettered right to report such Anti National Activity to any law enforcement agencies, to be dealt as per law.”
What Bennett University Describes as 'Anti-National'
The undertaking goes on to expound on what it defines as an "anti-national activity", which it says are any words (spoken or written), or signs, or visuals, which are "unlawful in the opinion of the University."
The undertaking describes 5 things that fall under its definition of "anti-national."
any unlawful activity, on whatsoever grounds, which may lead to or incite violence against the state or among the people.
any unlawful thoughts/actions leading to cessation or secession of any territorial part of India or any action which is against the national interest.
any activity which disclaims, questions, threatens, disrupts, or is intended to disrupt the sovereignty or integrity and unity of India, including its security.
any unlawful activity, which is intended, or which is part of scheme, which is intended to (a) overthrow by force the government, (b) create internal disturbance or disrupting of public services and threatens to disrupt peace, security, public order, safety, harmony amongst regional groups or castes or communities; and
any unlawful gathering or protest.
The 2019 UP Government Ordinance For Private Universities
In June 2019, the UP cabinet had passed an ordinance making it mandatory for private universities to give undertakings stating that they will not get involved in "any anti-national activity."
“This is a directive which is passed by the state government. It is an umbrella act by the UP state government under which... it is a statutory requirement by the state government," Colonel Guljit Singh Chadha (retired), registrar of the university, told Scroll.in.
However, the ordinance did not ask for students and parents to sign an undertaking, but only for the universities to commit to the UP government that it won't indulge in "anti-national activities."
The Bennett University was founded by the Times of India Group's Bennett, Coleman & Co Ltd in 2016, and has courses in management, law, media, liberal arts and engineering.
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