A day after the clashes at Delhi University, Ramjas College decided to hold a staff council meeting on Saturday to assess the reasons behind the violence on campus, said principal Rajendra Prasad on Thursday. “Ramjas teachers, students and management stand together,” he said. On Wednesday students, teachers and journalists were injured in an intermittent violence, which was started by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The drama started on Tuesday, after members of Delhi University Student’s Union (DUSU) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) protested against an invitation to JNU students, Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid, to address a seminar on Culture of Protests at Delhi University’s Ramjas College. However, the event had to be cancelled as the protests escalated. Members of the ABVP and the DUSU gathered outside the college and shouted slogans, demanding that the invite to “anti-nationals” be cancelled.
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The ABVP claimed that seven of its students were beaten up badly and had to get medical attention. The campus remained peaceful on Thursday amid the heavy deployment of police personnel. Clashes took place on Wednesday after Ramjas College authorities withdrew the invitation to Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid. The RSS-affiliated ABVP members had clashed with students and teachers at the college, objecting to the invitation to the two JNU students. The Left-wing AISA protested and demanded an FIR against the ABVP members for alleged vandalism. Videos and photographs recorded during violence are being shared on social media.
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The Delhi Police on Wednesday said it would probe allegations of police high-handedness and inaction after day-long clashes on the DU campus. The police has also registered a case of rioting and assaulting police officers on duty against unknown persons in connection with the clashes. Police said eight of its personnel, including an SHO of Maurice Nagar police station, Arti Sharma, too sustained injuries. An assistant sub-inspector sustained a hairline fracture. “Additional DCP-I Esha Pandey will conduct an inquiry into allegations of police high-handedness in the matter. An FIR for rioting and assault on public servant has been registered against unknown persons on a complaint by SHO (Maurice Nagar),” a senior police officer said. Complaints have also been received from both ABVP and AISA and those will be clubbed with the FIR following an inquiry, the officer said.
WATCH | Students Raise Slogans Against ABVP At Delhi’s Ramjas College
A section of teachers and students, who were agitated over the college’s decision to “bow down” to “threat to freedom of speech” had decided to march to Maurice Nagar Police Station demanding action against ABVP members for alleged vandalism. ABVP members allegedly locked the students and teachers inside Ramjas College while AISA members tried to barge inside the premises to “rescue the captives”. “The students have been locked inside and those trying to come out were beaten up by ABVP goons. We tried to enter the college to rescue the students but they are attacking us as well. They have come prepared with hockey sticks,” an AISA member said.
An atmosphere of fear and unease prevailed on Wednesday night at DU’s north campus. Students who were part of the protest against ABVP were getting messages from friends and teachers, warning them to stay indoors. Utkarsh Bhardwaj, a student at PGDAV College, alleged that after the protest was over, he was slapped by three men on a bike outside Vishwavidyalaya Metro Station. “A policeman chased them away. I was too scared to go back to file a complaint,” he said. There were several unconfirmed reports of students from various colleges being beaten up in their accommodations and on public transport.
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ABVP, however, rejected all allegations and said that it was not targeting anyone. Members did, however, say that ‘anti-national’ slogans will not be tolerated in Delhi University. Police also denied that any student was being targeted on the campus. “We have also heard about these messages being shared but there is no truth to them. Students are safe,” said DCP North, Jatin Narwal.
On Thursday, the street theatre festival at SGTB Khalsa College was “postponed”, allegedly because the ABVP-led DUSU issued “repeated threats” over the “anti-national themes” of some of the plays. Saikat Ghosh, staff advisor of the theatre society at Khalsa College, said the programme was cancelled “under duress”. This is not the first time that Khalsa College has been forced to cancel a theatre performance following threats. “The competition had to be cancelled after repeated threats from DUSU. The police also appealed to us to call off the event in the interest of restoring peace and normalcy on the campus. We had no other option, but we condemn the incident. DUSU claimed some of the plays (from different colleges) which were supposed to be staged had anti-national themes,” said Ghosh.
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After his invitation was cancelled on Tuesday Khalid in a Facebook post, claimed the police said it would not be able to offer protection if he attended the event. “Such is the state of democracy in our country where attackers are given complete protection and those facing attacks are held responsible for the attacks on them,” he wrote.