Political fault lines in the Delhi University campus are set to get deeper with another student protest even as Gurmehar Kaur, the daughter of an army martyr, told Hindustan Times in an interview that she did not want to enter politics. On Thursday, members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and Delhi University Students’ Unon (DUSU) are carrying out a ‘Save DU’ march in Delhi’s North Campus calling for a nationwide campus ban on Left affiliated organisations.
The ABVP has been at loggerheads with All India Students Assocaition (AISA),the student chapter of CPI (ML). ABVP’s protest is the second in as many days after Wednesday’s demonstration at the Delhi Police headquarters over what they said was police inaction against those who allegedly raised anti-India slogans at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) last year.
Watch as the march, by ABVP members and DUSU students, crosses Ramjas College:
Here are the Live updates:
2.35pm: Students again carry a giant ‘tiranga’ at the Arts Faculty. Earlier, on February 27, ABVP had taken out a ‘Tiranga Rally’. At the Arts Faculty, Shaurya from Sri Venkateswara college says he had joined the protest against the attempt to bring bad name to the university.
2.30pm: Huge police presence at Arts Faculty to keep a check on the crowd. A large number of students from colleges and outside have gathered. A student from the Faculty of Law tells HT correspondent that she had come to protest against ‘outsiders’ who were coming to the university for political ends and spread of misinformation.
2.23pm: As the march reaches Arts Faculty, president of Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) Amit Tanwar says, “We will not tolerate those who talk about breaking the country.”
2.10pm:Protest march reaches at Vivekanand statue at Arts Faculty. Talking to HT correspondent on ground, an ABVP member said the organisation had been wrongly framed for the violence at Ramjas college.
2pm: March by ABVP members and DUSU students crosses Vishwavidyalaya Metro station and Ramjas College. Students participating in the march tell HT correspondent that they want to ‘raise the spirit of nationalism’ in the campus through the march.
1.48pm: Meanwhile, Haryana minister Anil Vij stands by his earlier statement that ‘those supporting Gurmehar Kaur are pro Pakistan’. Reacting to the uproar in the state Assembly over his statement he says, “Those opposing it in the assembly have no understanding,they are siding with anti-national forces,” reports ANI.
1.35pm: Chants of ‘Bharat mein rehna hoga, Vande Matarm kehna hoga’ and ‘Kashmir ho ya Guwahati, apna desh apni maati’ ring in North Campus where the ABVP march is on as saffron scarfs, banners and the national flags unfurl.
1.25pm: Nearly 2,000 ABVP members gather to take part in the protest. The protesters begin to march from from Arts Faculty.
1.10pm: Posters at the protest site span from freedom of expression, extolling ‘nationalism’ and call for respect to standing up against ’anti-nationals’. Some of them read ‘Na Marxvaad, na Naxalvaad, Sabse uupar Rashtravaad’ (Neither Marxism nor Naxalism but Nationalism); ‘Kam padhe likhon ka apmaan karna band karo’ (Stop showing disrespect for those who are less educated)
1.05pm: An ABVP activist from Rohini says he has come to be a part of the ‘DU fights anti-nationals’ march. “I have come here to say that such activities will not be accepted in India,” he tells HT reporter at the protest site in North campus.
1pm: A PHD student in Sanskrit department, Geetika, says she has come to protest against ‘anti-national’ activities in Ramjas. “Have come to protest against the events to misguide youth,” she says. Watch here:
12.45pm: In the backdrop of the ongoing tussle between students organisations in DU’s Ramjas College, the Karnataka University postpones its convocation programme, which was to be addressed by Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar.
12.40pm: Left leader Sitaram Yechury takes on defence minister Manohar Parrikar for his remark that “all freedom of expression have legal limit”. “ What defines legal restrictions of the Defence Minister? His whims and fancies? Restrictions are defined by our constitution,” says Yechury, according to ANI.
12.35pm: Posters of alleged incidents of violence against RSS workers line the Chhatra Marg stretch. Early reports say outsiders joining the protest by ABVP.
12.30pm: Chhatra Marg towards Arts Faculty closed down by police as ABVP members gather for the protest.
12.25pm: ABVP activists begin gathering for the march outside Vishwa Vidyalaya metro station. Its banners, placards and slogans once again in the North Campus, this time for ’fight against anti-nationals’.
12.20pm: The ‘Save DU march by ABVP will begin from the Arts Faculty and pass through Vishwavidyalaya Metro station, Miranda College, Sri Ram College of Commerce, Ramjas College, and Law Faculty before culminating at a Swami Vivekananda statue.
12.10pm: Finance minister too joins the raging debate over the discourse of nationalism. Speaking elsewhere, finance minister Arun Jaitley says ‘nationalism’ is a good word but is made out to be bad in our country, reports ANI.
Nationalism is a good word, ye toh kewal iss desh mein hai ki rashtravad bura shabd hai: Arun Jaitley,Finance Minister pic.twitter.com/i0t7dVww04— ANI (@ANI_news) March 2, 2017
12pm: Meanwhile, asked about his opinion on Gurmehar Kaur, defence minister Manohar Parrikar says: “I believe in the freedom of expression with whatever legal restrictions are there. All freedom of expression have legal limit. You cannot barge on another person’s right,” reports IANS.
11.50am: Organisers say the ‘Save DU’ march by ABVP has been planned to bring back peace in Delhi University which has seen unprecedented violence over a seminar at the Ramjas College. The seminar was subsequently cancelled on February 22.
Read: Ramjas row: 10 things that turned a college brawl into a battle of ideologies
11.40am: Accusing Left organisations of inciting violence on campus, Saket Bahuguna, ABVP national media convener had said, “DU has been peaceful because ABVP has dominated the campus. But now we are being wrongly accused of indulging in violence. The violence on February 22 happened because there were aggressors of the Left who had come from outside.”
11.30am: HC likely to hear plea filed by DU students against police action at Ramjas college last week, report ANI. Students from Delhi University’s Law Department had approached the HC for action against cops who allegedly assaulted students and journalists at the college during a protest.
11.20am: Delhi University is set for another day of protests and counterprotests as the ABVP will hold a march at 12pm for nationwide campus ban on Left Wing student bodies.
11.15am: Heavy police security at Art Faculty in North Campus ahead of ABVP march.