January 26, 2016 1:01:07 am
An FIR has been registered against at least a dozen people, allegedly belonging to a Rashtriya Swayam Sevak (RSS) shakha in Dharavi, under sections of atrocities Act after they clashed with students protesting the death of Hyderabad Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula. The protesting students have alleged that RSS members disrupted their gathering and attacked them with iron rods and sticks, injuring some of the students, on Sunday evening.
The protest was held by various groups and students’ unions of Dharavi, including TISS and Ambedkar students’ association, Nationalist Forum, Vizhithezhu Iyakkam, Jai Bhim Foundation, Andhra-Karnataka Dalit Varg Sangh, Dharavi, and Republican Panthers, under the banner of ‘Justice for Rohith Joint Action Committee Mumbai’.
According to the students, the police was initially reluctant to file a case. They alleged that an FIR was registered after protesters gathered outside the Dharavi police station last night and demanded action against the culprits.
The injured students were rushed to a hospital nearby.
Ajmal Khan, student of TISS and one of the protesters said, “During the protest, casteist remarks were made by the attackers against the protesters. A poster with Ambedkar’s photo was torn and stamped upon by RSS workers. Though several police officers were present on the spot during the attack, they did nothing to stop the goons and instead pushed the protesters away,” said Khan who suffered a head and chest injury.
Another student from IIT Bombay Amit Saurabh said, “The attackers shouted ‘Jai Bhim walon ko maaro’ (attack the Jai Bhim people) as they attacked us.”
Local MLA and BJP leader Tamil Selvan alleged that the protesting students instigated the RSS activists by making unpleasant remarks about the organisation, its activists and leaders.
“RSS volunteers asked them to leave. However, the matter worsened and the groups clashed,” added Selvan.
Dharavi police have received a cross complaint from RSS activists against the protesting students.
Shrirang Nadgauda, assistant commissioner of police (Kurla division), confirmed that two FIRs were registered last night and both the complaints were being probed.
“Members of two groups were injured in the incident. One group has complained that members of an RSS shakha attacked them with rods and sticks. The RSS members have claimed that they were attacked with stones,” said a police officer.
One RSS shakha member is reportedly the only person who was seriously injured on the head and admitted to the Sion Hospital, police said.
“No arrests have been made in the matter yet,” Nadgauda added.
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