Campus trouble: 10 times colleges turned into war zones

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 07, 2016 15:44 IST
Indian security personnel guards the entrance to the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar. (AP)

A clash between local and outstation students at the National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Srinagar last Thursday over a cricket match has snowballed into a major issue with non-Kashmiri students alleging police brutality.

The situation at the NIT campus remained tensed on Thursday with heavy police and CRPF deployment. Several political parties have condemned the police crackdown in the campus and demanded the safety of students.

Some parties particularly spoke out for non-local students though Valley-based separatists warned of consequences if the issue persisted. They alleged the involvement of “state machinery” in “use of force against the Kashmiri students”.

Read | Students protest at NIT Srinagar chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’

Here’s a look at other campuses which witnessed trouble:

JNU sedition row

February-March 2016

JNU Students Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid with students of JNU and others during the peace march for Rohit Vermula Justice started from Mandi House to Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, India, March 30, 2016. (Hindustan Times)

Students from the Jawaharlal Nehru University organised an event on Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru who was hanged in 2013.

It set off the row with the members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) staging a protest to demand expulsion of the organisers. The university administration ordered a “disciplinary” enquiry and said the event organisers “went ahead without permission.”

ABVP members alleged that the protest march consisted of students shouting ‘anti-India’ slogans. The students who were part of the committee that organised the event said that none of them were part of the group that was shouting the slogans.

The university also initiated action, barring eight students from academic activity pending an enquiry, though they would be allowed to stay as guests in hostels. JNU students’ union president Kanhaiya Kumar and three other students were arrested on sedition charges after allegations of ‘anti-national’ sloganeering against him surfaced.

The battle between the two groups soon morphed into a debate on the larger issue of freedom of speech.

Read | Beyond Kanhaiya: 10 people involved in the JNU sedition row

Rohith Vemula suicide case

January-April 2016

Students protest over Rohith Vemula's suicide on February 23, 2016. (Photo by Virendra Singh Gosain/ Hindustan Times)

Trouble started in Hyderabad Central University (HCU) with the suicide of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula in January. In his ‘suicide note’ Vemula wrote of how he was “reduced to his immediate identity” at the university.

Though Vemula did not blame anyone for his death, he did not mince words on the institutionalisation of caste violence at HCU and how students like him had to face fire during a political face-off with the ABVP, the student wing of the BJP.

The situation in HCU flared further after vice-chancellor AR Podile, who has been accused of abetting Vemula’s suicide, returned to the university on March 22.

Instead of tackling the situation on its own, the HCU administration accused the students of violence and went the JNU way. Police were called in, they allegedly beat up students and molested girl students and arrested 36 students and two faculty members.

The administration then isolated the protesting students, stopped water and closed down the messes. Those arrested have been released.
Read |Rohith Vemula: An unfinished portrait

Jadavpur University protests

September 2014

Students of Jadavpur University 'Street Play' protest against the Lathi charge by the police on students inside the JU campus and demanding the Resignation of interim Vice Chancellar Abijit Chakraborty. (Subhankar Chakraborty/ Hindustan Times)

Students of the university started a protest against the then vice-chancellor Avijit Chakrabarti for his decision to call police on campus and lathi charge students staging a dharna demanding an inquiry into a molestation charge lodged by a fellow student.

The movement named ‘Hok Kolorob’ ultimately forced chief minister Mamata Banerjee to visit the campus and announce the dismissal of the vice-chancellor. The students also came out in support of their JNU colleagues.

FTII row


Students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) joined by students from several other institutes and people from various organisations as they hold a protest march from Jantar Mantar to the Parliament House. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/ Hindustan Times)

The students’ protests started over the appointment of actor Gajendra Chauhan as the chairperson of the institute’s governing council. They insist that the main reason they are still up in arms against Chauhan’s appointment is his lack of cinematic credentials.

Many, on and off the campus, link Chauhan appointment to his political proximity with the BJP.


March 3, 2015

NSUI supporters campaigning against choice-based credit system (CBCS).

More than 400 students from various universities in and outside Delhi protested against the choice-based credit system. The student demonstrators also raised slogans against the common Central University Act and the curbing of their democracy as per the Lyngdoh committee recommendations - which regulate students’ union elections.

The choice based credit system is a scheme that is being introduced by the ministry of human resources and draws heavily from something similar practised in the United States which is popularly known as the cafeteria scheme.

DU students’ union protest

May 20, 2015

(Hindustan Times)

Delhi University’s (DU) decision to drop admission centres for undergraduate courses at its campus in north Delhi drew the ire of student unions.

The unions protested against the university’s decision to exclude north campus colleges as offline registration centres for undergraduate admission.

The unions demanded immediate intervention on this matter by the university, failing which they have threatened to go on a strike.

ABVP expressed its disappointment over the university’s decision.

Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle row

May 2015

IIT-Bombay students and RPI supporters protested against the derecognition of the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) by the IIT, in Mumbai. (Pratham Gokhale/HT photo)

Indian Institute of Technology-Madras banned a Dalit students’ association following an anonymous complaint that it had criticised the central government’s policies and spread “hatred” against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Hindus.

The prestigious technical education institute acted after the Union human resource development ministry forwarded the complaint, which alleged the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) was mobilising Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students against the government’s policy on the use of Hindi and the ban on beef.

Reacting to concerns that the ban amounted to curtailing the freedom of expression, IIT-Madras said that students groups were expected to adhere to certain guidelines and that APSC had violated them while conducting its meetings.

Authorities withdrew the ban on the study circle devoted to the ideas of Periyar and Ambedkar, only after students’ protests.

Delhi University’s FYUP

June 2014

Police in action against ABVP activists during a protest over the four-year undergraduate programme (FYUP) of Delhi University in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

The impasse over Delhi University’s Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) took a violent turn after a professor of the university was injured in a clash between two student groups who came to blows over a discussion on FYUP on the university campus.

DU’s admission process was to begin on June 24, 2014, but had to be delayed due to the stalemate, as the university was not willing to budge initially. Over 2.7 lakh students had applied for admissions to more than 54,000 seats in the 64 colleges.

Finally, DU scrapped the controversial FYUP, reverting to the three-year degree format and paving the way for the commencement of the stalled admission process.

AMU shutdown

April 2011

Aligarh Muslim University (HT File Photo)

The Aligarh Muslim University was shut down indefinitely on April 30, 2011, following violent clashes between two rival groups of students that left nearly 12 of them injured.

One group belonging to Bihar and eastern UP and the other to western UP and some others parts had opened fire on the university campus the previous night. About half a dozen students belonging to two factions were injured in incidents of firing and brick-batting between the rival groups.

The trigger for the clashes was a scuffle between some students who had gone to the University Controller of Examinations to point out some irregularities.

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