In a clash that broke out between the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) in the Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) campus Sunday, 17 people from both student factions were injured, police said.
Members from the two groups got into a conflict at the university ground at around 6 am this morning during a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) shakha meet.
ABVP’s university campus vice-president Ashwani Thakur said, “RSS shakha was going on today at 6 am when the SFI members attacked our representatives with swords. Four of our student leaders were critically injured.”
SFI state president Vikram Kaith said, “The SFI members were playing cricket when an RSS leader from the shakha pointed at one of the SFI members who was also playing at the university ground where the shakha was being held and threatened him. When the SFI members responded, they were beaten up by the RSS and ABVP people using lathis.”
After the incident, both groups filed police complaints, based on which FIRs were filed in Shimla’s Boileauganj police station.
Shimla Deputy Superintendent of Police Pramod Shukla told The Indian Express, “A total of 17 persons were injured in the clash. They are receiving medical treatment, but no one is critical. It is hard to say which injured person belonged to which group and police investigation is still on.”
While no arrests were made till Sunday evening, Shukla said that the police was conducting raids in connection with the incident, and had recovered lathis and iron rods.
Reacting to the incident, state Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said, “The RSS did a programme there (at HPU)…Interrupting the programme, taking weapons there, and attacking is very unfortunate. We have spoken to the DGP and SP to maintain law and order… This is not West Bengal. This is Himachal Pradesh. It is Dev Bhoomi (land of Gods) and people here are peace-loving. We won’t tolerate this kind of behaviour.”
State Education Minister Suresh Bhardwaj said, “We received information today morning that left-leaning people launched an attack on them (ABVP members) with sharp weapons… We condemn the attack and we have told the administration to take strict action against the culprits.”