Protests in Delhi refuse to die down as Delhi University students under banner of Left Wing bodies held another march in the Capital. Students led by AISA marched from Mandi House to Parliament asserting their academic freedom, right to dissent and against alleged hooliganism by ABVP members.
Twelve days after student clashes shook Delhi University’s Ramjas college, student bodies have been locked in a tussle of protests with RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Viyarthi Parishad and Delhi University Student’s Union, on one hand, and students under Left Wing student organisations like AISA and SFI on the other.
The ABVP had, on Thursday organised a ‘Save DU march’ which was followed by an SFI march on Friday. Both the sides had also staged protest on February 28 — ABVP at North Campus and other student bodies at ITO.
Trouble had started at Delhi University over invitation to Umar Khalid, a JNU student facing sedition charges. ABVP’s objection resulted in Ramjas college cancelling the invitation. The matter escalated after a clash between students at the college campus following which the literary festival at Ramjas was cancelled. DU students along with Left Wing student bodies held a protest against alleged arm-twisting by ABVP. Clashes again broke out at the march with reports of students and teachers being roughed up by ABVP members.
Both the groups have since then taken out series of protests calling for action against each other.
Watch the highlights of the protest:
4.40pm: A DU teacher at the march says, “College campuses have been overtaken by hooliganism and what happened at Ramjas has repercussion on the entire university”. She adds that seminars are places where debates and discussuin take place and the protest is intended to reassert the right to debate.
4.30pm: Kanhaiya Kumar, Sitaram Yechury and mother of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed also join the protest.
4.11pm: JNU student Umar Khalid comes to address the ‘Save DU’ march.
4.09pm: Amid chants of ‘Inquilab zindabad’ and ‘Hallabol’, a JNU student tells HT that he had come to assert that the government cannot intimidate students with sedition law. He says the government should amendment the archaic sedition law to ensure it is not misused.
4.05pm: A large contingent of Youth for Swaraj joins the ‘Save DU’ march chanting slogans for action against those who perpetrated violence at Ramjas college.
3.50pm: Students at the protest speak against sedition law. DU student Aditya tells HT correspondent that anything said against the nation should not be seen as ‘anti-national’ and seditious. He adds that sedition should not use law to suppress dissent.
3.38pm: Seen at the protest: Umar Khalid’s younger sister with a poster calling for action in case of missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed. She tells HT correspondent that though Umar Khalid has been attacked by many there are also a large number of students who support him.
3.32pm: Around 1,000 protesters have gathered so far. Members of civil society organisations as well as parents of students have come from outside Delhi to join the protest.
3.28pm: Guitars and drums add music and colour to the protest. Students turn up with colourful posters some even in Urdu.
3.22pm: Teachers and students from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) join the protest in large numbers. Students seen expressing solidarity with DU students through posters which say ‘JNU loves DU’.
3.15pm: Students and teachers gathered for protest head towards Parliament Street police station. Talking to Hindustan Times a student with copy of the Preamble says the violence at campus violated the basic ideas set in the Constitution.
3.12pm: Students have gathered in large numbers at Mandi House demanding that colleges be made free spaces for debate and discussion. Talking to HT correspondents, students say they have gathered not for an ideology but against violence at campus which they say was incited by ABVP.
2.53pm: Students from different DU colleges and other universities join the protest amid chants of ‘Hallabol’.
2.40pm: Among the students at the ‘Save DU’ march are students from Ashoka University, who tell HT correspondent that they have come to protest against the culture of ‘forced self-censorship’.
2.26pm: Protesting students carry placards asking DU administration ‘Why so scared of ABVP’. Some others seek to assert freedom of thought and expression with this line from poet Iqbal ‘Freedom of thought destroys those who can’t think’.
2.10pm: Students begin to gather at Mandi House amid heavy police deployment for ‘Save DU’ march.
1.40pm: NSUI will march from DPCC to PHQ at 6.30pm demanding that police register case against those seen in videos engaging in violence on February 22.
1pm: Swaraj India president Yogendra Yadav claims the Youth Meet at Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, where he had been invited to speak on ‘Meaning & Significance of Dissent’, postponed under pressure.
Another DU college chickens out!— Yogendra Yadav (@_YogendraYadav) March 4, 2017
I was to speak on Meaning & Significance of Dissent at DCAC Youth meet tomorrow.
Just told it's postponed!