TWO DAYS after violence and stone-pelting was witnessed at Ramjas College, with students being beaten up by police, North Campus was eerily deserted and lifeless on Friday. Outside the college gates, barricades had been put up by police. A dozen officers stood guard, checking each student and hosteler’s identity card before allowing them to enter or leave the campus. A group of day scholars tried in vain to convince the officers to let them enter to practice for the upcoming inter-sports meet, but were turned away.
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Meanwhile, after rumours about raids in the area and stray incidents of scuffles, half of the 200 boarders at the Ramjas hostel left to spend the weekend with friends and local guardians. The rest decided to stay put in their rooms. According to a hosteler, the only topic of discussion doing the rounds is how Ramjas has changed from a “normal” college to one “like JNU” this past week.
Some said they have been getting worried phone calls from their families, asking them to lie low and not venture out of the hostel.
Sai Dheeraj, a second-year student from Andhra Pradesh, said he has been receiving at least four calls from his parents every day since clashes broke out between student unions over a seminar inviting JNU’s Umar Khalid as a speaker.
“My father told me not to get into any debates or arguments with anyone. They have been hooked to the television for developing news,” said Dheeraj, whose friend was injured during Wednesday’s stone-pelting at the college.
Others lamented the lack of security on campus. “We are furious that outsiders could come into our college and disrupt a seminar. When we go to St Stephen’s or SRCC, we are asked to show our identity cards. But anyone can walk into our college,” a second-year student from the political science department said.
Dheeraj said he is shaken by the violence. “Ramjas is a good institute, just like JNU… But now, it will be be known more for the controversy than anything else.”