New Delhi, February 23
Hundreds of students on Thursday protested outside the Delhi Police headquarters, a day after clashes between student groups left several injured at the Ramjas College.The demonstration was organised by the All India Students Association (AISA) demanding action against Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members accused of beating up students on Wednesday at the college.Some Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University teachers also joined the protest, condemning what they said was the police inaction when the ABVP activists went on the offensive on Wednesday.The protesters shouted slogans against the ABVP and Delhi Police.
“We are an amorphous group of people from across universities and no one is leading the demonstration,” Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) president Nandita Narain told IANS.”We are all equally pained. I condemn the violence on the students and teachers and the lawless behaviour of the ABVP,” she added.She criticised Delhi Police for its alleged failure to stop ABVP activists from resorting to violence at the Ramjas College in the Delhi University campus.She said at least 50 students from her college, St. Stephens, were injured and came back in a distressed state at midnight from Hauz Khas police station where they were taken on Wednesday.
“This is very sad since Stephens is a highly apolitical college. Police even beat up its students,” she said.Thursday’s protest came as Delhi Police registered a case of rioting and assault against unknown persons following violence between Left-backed AISA and RSS-affiliated ABVP activists.The clashes were triggered over an invitation to JNU student Umar Khalid, who was jailed last year over sedition charges, for a literary seminar titled “Cultures of Protest” at Ramjas.The two-day event on Tuesday and Wednesday was cancelled after ABVP forced the organisers to withdraw the invite to Khalid, dubbing him “anti-national”.
Example of state-backed intolerance: CPI-M
Describing the violence outside Ramjas College here as an example of “state machinery backed violent intolerance”, the CPI-M has demanded action against ABVP activists involved in the assault as also against the police for connivance.The Communist Party of India-Marxist condemned the violence by ABVP “goons” and denounced the Delhi Police.
“This is another shameful example of the violent intolerance backed by the state machinery of the RSS-BJP combine and its various wings against all forms of democratic protest, particularly in universities,” it said.”Students and teachers including from the Delhi University Teachers Association and the Academic Council who were marching to the local police station to protest were attacked by the police,” it said.”The CPI-M demands that all those who indulged in violence to disrupt the seminar and attack the democratic protest should be arrested. Action must be taken against the Delhi Police personnel who connived with the ABVP.”
DUJ condemns attacks on media, students
The Delhi Union of Journalists (DUJ) on Thursday expressed anger and anguish over the attacks on journalists, teachers and students in Delhi University.”There were several assaults (on Wednesday) on journalists covering the disturbances, by protesters as well as police who did not wear nametags,” a DUJ statement said.”Phones were snatched, cameras grabbed and photographic evidence of the violence was destroyed,” it said.
The DUJ said Times of India correspondent Somreet Bhattacharya and photographer Anindya Chattopadhyay were beaten up during the clashes between student groups at Ramjas College.”Quint reporter Taruni Kumar has given a video statement of how ABVP women hit her, grabbed her phone, pulled her hair and broke her phone and mike,” it said.”Quint cameraperson Shiv Kumar Maurya suffered injuries on his head and reporter Anant Prakash was also attacked.”Hindustan Times reporter Ananya Bhardwaj was hit. TimesNow reporter Priyank and cameraperson Mazhar Khan were beaten. Photographer Anand Sharma too was beaten.”These attacks indicate a deliberate attempt to browbeat and muzzle the press whenever it tries to report violence by supporters and vigilante groups of the ruling party,” the DUJ said.”An attack on the media is an assault on democracy. We demand an inquiry and punishment for the guilty.
“There is ample videographic evidence on the social media of the violence.”The Delhi Police is usually only too ready to lathi-charge, tear gas, detain or arrest those organising any form of protest in the city.”In this case it did not use any such tactics to restrain the ABVP students who attacked those holding a peaceful seminar at Ramjas College.”