Policemen in civil clothes reportedly tried to disrupt an event at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A), on Sunday evening following which the venue had to be shifted to a classroom and later was held in the open, said participants.
A local team from the Satellite police station came to the campus around 5.30 pm before the event, ‘IIMA stands up for democracy’, scheduled to be held at 6.30 pm at the Louis Kahn Plaza of the IIM-A, could begin, they said. The venue of the event, organised collectively by the students, faculty and staff members, was changed to a classroom and later it moved out in the open.
“The policemen pushed us into a classroom. It was an event by the students inside the campus. How can police come and stop us from holding the peaceful event? We have no idea who informed them or why did they come here,” said one of the students who participated.
As a part of the event, an art installation was put up at the Plaza. A reading session of the Preamble of the Constitution, an experience-sharing session on police violence and a candlelight vigil were also scheduled to be held.
Professor Navdeep Mathur, one of the participating faculty members of IIMA, told The Indian Express, “We were holding a peaceful reading session when a few policemen came and stopped us. It was only an event in solidarity with the students who were reportedly attacked in other parts of the country. We requested the police not to create any disturbance.”
Professor Reetika Khera, another IIMA faculty, said, “The internal event was planned to condemn police violence across the country, especially on campuses. Before the event began, a few policemen showed up, tried to stop it but only succeeded in moving it to a classroom.”
One of the student organisers added that the event was delayed a bit due to this.
However, PD Darji, incharge officer of Satellite police station denied that the police tried to enter the classrooms and disrupt the event. He claimed that the police received a “WhatsApp message” regarding a “candle march event” being held at IIMA.
“The police did not enter the campus and were waiting at the cabin of security guards outside the institute. We received a message on WhatsApp that a candle march was being organised inside the college campus and we visited the campus to enquire about it. Police have not disrupted the event and it is going on,” said Darji.
The participants alleged this was the second event in a week that the police tried to disrupt at the premier management institute. “Last week, there was a talk by a political science professor of a Ahmedabad-based private university and lawyer Gautam Bhatia in one of the classrooms on CAA, NRC and NPR, when two policemen in plain clothes came and sat inside the class. We objected to it and politely asked them to leave as it was a class and their presence was not required,” shared one of the IIMA faculty members.
Participants said that it was a peaceful event, which would not have got much attention if the police had not interfered.
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