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Ramjas protest: Cops watch as ABVP goes after AISA, probe on

The clashes took place a day after Ramjas College authorities withdrew an invitation to JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar on Culture of Protests.

Written by Mallica Joshi , Mahender Singh Manral | New Delhi |
Updated: February 28, 2017 3:05:25 pm
Ramjas college, umar khalid, ABVP, AISA, ABVP AISA clash, Ramjas College Umar Khalid, shehla rashid, abvp, aisa, abvp aisa clash, umar khalid entry du, ramjas college umar khalid, umar khalid ramjas entry Many were injured in the clashes. Source: Renuka Puri

Delhi Police Wednesday night said it would probe allegations of police high-handedness and inaction after day-long clashes on the Delhi University campus between members of the RSS-affiliated ABVP and students opposed to them, many from the Left wing AISA. Several students and teachers were injured in the clashes and police said eight of its personnel, including an SHO, too sustained injuries.

The clashes took place a day after Ramjas College authorities withdrew an invitation to JNU students Umar Khalid, who was booked for sedition last year, and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar on Culture of Protests. ABVP members had clashed with students and teachers at the college, objecting to the invitation to the two JNU students. The AISA protested and demanded an FIR against the ABVP members for alleged vandalism.

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Read | Ramjas College is now a new front in AISA, ABVP clash

For much of Wednesday, students clashed at regular intervals. Around 5 pm, The Indian Express saw the two groups gather outside the Maurice Nagar police station. There were close to 200 AISA members, along with other DU students, and around 30-40 ABVP members.

The AISA protesters blocked the road, raised ‘azadi’ slogans and demanded registration of an FIR. The ABVP members countered them with shouts of ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’. Around 5.30 pm, the ABVP group started hurling stones at the protesters, and heckled and pushed police personnel. The police chose to look the other way.

At 6 pm, an ABVP activist rushed towards the protesting students, but was stopped by police personnel who had formed a protective ring around the students. Ten minutes later, a woman member of the ABVP pushed two police personnel and asked them to ensure that the protesters get ‘azadi’.

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“Why don’t you show them what azadi is? Are you even Indian? They are abusing the country. Does your blood not boil when you listen to their slogans,” she asked the police personnel. Assuring the ABVP members that they will take action against the protesters, the police asked them to leave.

At 6.30 pm, the police charged towards the protesters, beating up many of them and herding them on to a bus. Police also rounded up protesters who ran into the narrow lanes of the area.

DCP (North) Jatin Narwal said the police tried their best to maintain peace and order through the day. “We had stopped a number of ABVP activists near the Patel Chest Institute (near the police station). Both sides taunted us and we removed the protesters after they refused to move despite several requests.”

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“On the basis of police personnel’s complaint, we have registered an FIR under IPC sections 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of duty), 427 (mischief causing damage), 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), and 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) against all students who created a ruckus,” Narwal said.

Police said Maurice Nagar SHO Arti Sharma was among eight personnel injured.

The ABVP said seven of its members were beaten up as well, and that the police did not support them. “Seven of our members have been beaten up badly. The police did not let our members reach the police station,” Saket Bahuguna, ABVP national media convener, said.

Several Delhi University teachers blamed police inaction for the violence on the campus. “The police did nothing to stop or nab ABVP culprits,” Saikat Ghosh, member of the Delhi University Teachers Association, said.

Members of the National Democratic Teachers’ Front, on the other hand, said while they condemned the violence, they were opposed to “exploitation of freedom of speech and alternative view on national issues for promoting anti-national, pro-Pakistan stands”.

“All university campuses should not be allowed to become centres of violence against the idea of India,” said A K Bhagi, president, NDTF.

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