Cries for ‘azaadi’ and the ‘cheeky ABVP why so creepy’, on Tuesday echoed inside the Delhi University campus during an anti-ABVP march joined by over 2,000 students and teachers against “onslaught” on universities and “curb” on dissent. Students, teachers and non-teaching staff from various universities including JNU, Jamia and Ambedkar University, participated in the protest march.
Here are the highights from protest against Ramjas violence
5.39 pm: Gurmehar Kaur tweets in support of march:
2000 people in SOLIDARITY!
All my friends. Our lovely faculty! ❤️ how I wish I was there *GRINNING* pic.twitter.com/7dgDM05Ngp
— Gurmehar Kaur (@mehartweets) February 28, 2017
4.45 pm: Police has asked all those sloganeering and protesting to leave from the back exit as the main entrance was blocked by ABVP.
4.43 pm: The protest march has ended and students are now going back to Khalsa college. However, police is still stationed at arts faculty where the speeches happened, in order to prevent any untoward incident.
4.38 pm: ABVP members have come to the protest march to disrupt it. They are shouting “go back Kanhaiya”. However, police has thwarted the disruption attempt by ABVP and did not let them come near the actual site of the march.
4.34 pm: Kanhaiya Kumar Criticises ABVP, says you can’t enforce one particular ideology on anyone and their should be room for discussion. He has invited ABVP for discussion and urged them to stop violence.
4.28 pm: Amidst the protest march, NHRC has issued notice to Delhi Police Commissioner over allegations of police excesses outside Ramjas College in DU Campus on the 22 February.
4.19 pm: While Gurmehar Kaur, who was slated to participate in the DU protest march withdrew earlier, controversy around her has not died down. Kiren Rijiju said today, “She(Gurmehar Kaur) is a young girl, creating controversy over her isn’t right. Its about leftists who celebrate when our jawans die.”
4.13 pm: Whoever has issued rape threats are on record but a strong message needs to be sent out that these people will not be spared, says Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
4.08 pm: “This march is uplifting, in light of what we have witnessed, the state sponsored gundagardi. These students are not from the left or the right; they are not political activists. They are students asserting what they want, which is no gundagardi,” says Yogendra Yadav.
4.05 pm: They cannot win this with their intellectual skill and want to replace it with violence: Sitaram Yechury at the protest march.
4.04 pm: Students at the march say our march is to claim our space without the goons of RSS, ABVP. “It was just a seminar for education,” says a student.
4.01 pm: This is a collective fight to defend our constitutional rights. We will be raising the issue of DU in the parliament, says D. Raja.
3.59 pm: Humara nationalism is ‘We are Indian’ not ‘who is a Hindu’?, says Sitaram Yechury at the protest march.
3.54 pm: Will welcome Umar Khalid if he says Kashmir an integral part of India, says ABVP.
3.52 pm: All ABVP members maintain that they are blameless and it was the left that incited the violence. “JNU, Jamia suppress the voice of ABVP in their campus. There has always been peace in DU because of ABVP. It was because of aggressors from outside that the violence happened,” says ABVP member.
3.50 pm: There will another rally from Mandi house on March 4 at 2 pm.
3.50 pm: ABVP tried to calm down the situation. This is their strategy. They want to do one anti-national event in a year. Now they want to spoil the environment of Delhi University. Common students are wondering why there is so much police in the campus: ABVP delhi state secretary
3.46 pm: D Raja and Sitaram Yechury join JNU & DU students’ protest march against ABVP in North Campus area, reports ANI.
3.45 pm: We will not allow freedom of speech to disintegrate our nation: ABVP member in press conference
3.45 pm: Some students accuse the leftists of trying to ‘hijack’ the protest. Posters for Rohith Vemula spotted at the event.
3.43 pm: ABVP claims that the left attacked and not them. “We also had the Tiranga march yesterday, we wanted ‘tirangakaran’ of the campus,” ABVP member in press conference.
3.42 pm: They have taken over the ideology of Swami Vivekananda when he was our ideal: ABVP
3.40 pm: ABVP says girls molested by ‘leftists’ in the march.
3. 18 pm: Yogendra Yadav also expressed opposition towards campus-based violence. “I vehemently oppose the goondgardi in universities. Struggling against this will strengthen our democracy, just like it did post emergency,” he said.
3.15 pm: “Everything has to start from us and we have to invite those who propagate divisive ideas for debates. This is not left and right debate but of right and wrong,” he said.
3.10 pm: “They who have not even spilled a drop of blood in the freedom struggle want to teach us nationalism? We will learn our nationalism from Mahatma Gandhi.”
3.06 pm: Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav addresses the protesting students. Urging unity among students, he said, “Students must come together and not be afraid of divisive forces.” The former UGC member lashes out at RSS-backed organisations. “They (the RSS) talk about nationalism when they have not even hoisted the national flag at their Nagpur headquarters,” Yadav alleged.
3.00 pm: Delhi University Teacher’s Association (DUTA) address the protesting students and media present at the rally. “We condemn the violence at Ramjas College. It was an assault on the Ramjas students and not about left and right debate, as the media is portraying,” says DUTA President Nandita Narain.
2.54 pm: AAP Timarpur MLA Pankaj Pushkar addresses the protest at DU. “I stand for freedom of expression,” he said. Earlier today, AAP leader Atishi Marlena asked why Delhi Police did not take immediate action against ABVP activists who she said attacked students, teachers as well as journalists at Ramjas College here on February 22.
2.35 pm: Protesting students quote Faiz to assert their right to freedom of speech and expression. A placard at the protest march reads: “Bol ke lab aazaad hain tere.”
2.32 pm: Former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar raises slogans against ABVP at the event. Kanhaiya was one of three JNU students arrested last year in the sedition case.
2.27 pm: Protesting students demand ‘azaadi’ for freedom of speech and expression and from ‘ABVP hooliganism.’
2.16 pm: The protest march reaches Art Faculty.
2.08 pm: Delhi Police personnel tried to halt the march of the protesters near Law Faculty a little while ago. However, the march soon resumed and is now on it’s way to the Arts Faculty, where it’s supposed to culminate.
1.59 pm: The rally has reached Ramjas College where there is massive police deployment. On February 22, ABVP activists allegedly pelted stones and thrashed students and teachers at the Ramjas College while protesting the invitation to JNU student activist Umar Khalid for a seminar. People from all sections of student community are present in the march.
1.40 pm: More than 800 people have joined the protest from various colleges and universities of Delhi. Former vice president of JNU Students’ Union, Shehla Rashid Shora, attended the protest march and said the turnout has been encouraging. Speaking to IndianExpress.com, she said, “The huge turnout at this protest march gives us hope for unity. We stand united against the violence perpetrated by ABVP.” Shehla also took a dig at ABVP and said their “patience has been exemplary.”
1.30 pm: “It is not a fight between left and right. My primary concern is that the violence perpetuated by ABVP is being backed by those who are in power, the BJP. ABVP is entirely responsible for the violence and we are vehemently opposing that” says Kumar Sarvarkar, a protester who attended the DU protest march to show his solidarity.
1.19 pm: Students and faculty members from various colleges condemn the violence on campus. Many were worried after the February 22 incident where stones were thrown at faculty members, guests and students. “This fight is for our University space,” they said.
1.02 pm: Students from various universities in Delhi have joined the protest. We are getting reports that apart from Delhi University, students and teachers from JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia and Amdedkar University will also be attending march.
12.54 pm: We’re also getting news that CPI-M secretary Sitaram Yechury will be joining today’s protest. Yechury, who has been president of JNUSU, was arrested during the Emergency when he was pursuing a Masters in JNU.
12.50 pm: “We are not here to support AISA or ABVP but have come to show our solidarity for the freedom of speech and expression,” says a student from Khalsa College who wished not to be named.
12.37 pm: Students from across Delhi University have joined the protest this noon. Students from Lady Shri Ram and St Stephen’s College are participating in the event. While earlier protests were tagged to be backed by Left student unions, today’s seems to have the backing of students that are unaffiliated. Students of Miranda House college are also present at the event.
12.33 pm: Sajin Saju reports that placards at the protest march are against those misusing the term nationalism. One of the placards at the protest event says: “My nationalism says peace and not hooliganism”.
12.22 pm: The protest has now begun SGTB Khalsa college to Delhi University’s Arts faculty. Members of the Congress-backed NSUI are sitting on a hunger strike outside the Arts faculty, where the protest march will culminate.
12.21 pm: Meanwhile, in an unexpected turn of events, Times Now reports that ABVP has filed a complaint at the Maurice Nagar Police station in North Campus against those who were harassing Gurmehar Kaur. Kaur had said that she was being harassed and threatened with rape and murder via comments on her social media accounts.
11:45 am: Following the clashes last week, for which the role played by the Delhi Police came into question, today’s march will see a heavy deployment of forces as the authorities would not want any untoward incident. On February 22, students alleged that Delhi Police personnel were being selective in their targetting and ABVP activists had a free hand.
10.20 am: Joining the protest today will be Swaraj Abhiyan’s leader Yogendra Yadav. Yadav, who was earlier a part of NAC and UGC, is now heading Swaraj Abhiyan, a political party.
10.10 am: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will be meeting L-G Anil Baijal to demand the Delhi Police take action against ABVP for perpetrating violence on DU campuses and for the alleged rape threats to student Gurmehar Kaur.
10.00 am: Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur early Tuesday morning announced that she’s withdrawing from the Save DU campaign – that’s protesting against student violence on campuses – saying she’s ‘gone through enough’.