Protests over the cancellation of a literary event in Ramjas College last week and the violent clashes that followed refuse to die down with the Left and Right both planning more demonstrations.
Trouble started on February 21 over an invite to JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar on ‘Culture of Protests’ which was withdrawn by Ramjas College authorities following opposition by the ABVP, a students’ body linked to the RSS.
Angered by the ABVP’s alleged high-handedness, students from different colleges including students and teachers of JNU and Ramjas College, and members of Left-wing student outfits organised a protest march the following afternoon. But students owing allegiance to the ABVP swooped down on the marchers. In the melee that followed, several students, teachers and journalists were assaulted.
While outrage over the Ramjas incident gathers pace, here’s a look at what happened today:
1. Tiranga March
The Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) led by the ABVP took out a Tiranga Rally on Monday, marching from Ramjas College to the Arts Faculty. DUSU said the march was called by common students from different colleges and they were leading it.
“Students are against those who organised the event and called Umar Khalid. We want action against those from the Left student organisations who indulged in violence and beat up common students,” said Satinder Awana, former DUSU president.
2. Gurmehar claims rape threat
Delhi commission for women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal has written to police commissioner Alok Verma demanding security cover for Delhi University student Gurmehar Kaur who complained of receiving rape threats for her social media campaign against the ABVP.
3. ABVP student cries rape
A member of the ABVP lodged a complaint with the police that she was molested by two activists of the Left-affiliated AISA on February 21. She claimed she was assaulted outside Shri Ram College of Commerce when the literary fest at Ramjas College was cancelled.
4. Rijiju, Sehwag and Hooda wade in
Minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju on Monday hinted that Gurmehar Kaur was being influenced by political rivals. “Who’s polluting this young girl’s mind? A strong Arm Force prevents a war. India never attacked anyone but a weak India was always invaded,” Rijiju tweeted.
The minister was referring to an old picture of Kaur – the daughter of Captain Mandeep Singh who was killed in the 1999 Kargil war – that resurfaced in social media after she took on the ABVP. “Pakistan did not kill my dad, war did,” reads a placard she carries in the picture.
Cricketer Virender Sehwag did not directly refer to Kaur in his tweet or to the violence in Ramjas College last week but posted a picture of him in a similar style.
Sehwag’s tweet was applauded by actor Randeep Hooda
5. And the politics begins
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi supported Gurmehar Kaur, saying “Against the tyranny of fear we stand with our students. For every voice raised in anger, intolerance & ignorance, there will be a Gurmehar Kaur.
NDA government minister Venkaiah Naidu in Delhi, speaking on the week-long protests, said, “Certain misguided sections are trying to mislead the young population and create social tension and hurt the sentiments of the people of India.”