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Political differences come to fore at Ramjas College

Unrest at Jawaharlal Nehru University finds an echo in Delhi’s Ramjas College

Universities Under Attack Updated: Mar 13, 2017 08:48 IST
Activists allegedly of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad  beating Ramjas students , after JNU student Umar Khalid’s visit to Ramjas College was cancelled following protests by students. at the Delhi University in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.
Activists allegedly of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad beating Ramjas students , after JNU student Umar Khalid’s visit to Ramjas College was cancelled following protests by students. at the Delhi University in New Delhi, India, on Wednesday, February 22, 2017.(Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

The sharp ideological differences that have become synonymous with Jawaharlal Nehru University in the recent past on Wednesday found an echo in the relatively less political campus of Delhi University on Wednesday.

The cancellation of an event by Ramjas literary society led to a protest and counter-protests before eventually ending in violence — something the students had not witnessed in the recent past.

The students and professors were thrashed, misbehaved with and even harassed, allegedly by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad |(ABVP) supporters. “There have been clashes between students before but what we saw on Tuesday and Wednesday is different. Teachers were attacked. If they have differences, they can protest. Why resort to violence?” said Delhi University Teachers’ Association president Nandita Narain.

A student of Mata Sundri College, who came to the march in support of Ramjas, was reportedly asked to shout Bharat Mata ki Jai and when she refused, she was beaten up. “After the protest, I was on my way back home. I am not a part of any student union or party. I was however stopped by the ABVP members and asked to say Bharat Mata ki jai, when I refused, one woman with them slapped me. They even kicked me. When I asked the police to intervene, they refused to help,” she said.

Another student, Burhan and DU’s English department faculty member Prasanta Chakraborty were taken to the hospital after they were beaten up. “I was beaten up by 15 people, possibly ABVP members... I was at the site, in solidarity with the protesting students,” Chakraborty told HT.

ABVP, however, denied allegations of indulging in violence. They said they were attacked by students from the other group. “It was us who were actually beaten up. We were protesting because these people had raised slogans against the nation demanding azadi (freedom) for Kashmir on Tuesday. How could we tolerate that as residents of this country,” Amit Tanwar, DUSU president and member of ABVP said.

Both the sides filed cross complaints though no FIR has been filed so far.

Anirban Kar, a faculty member at Delhi School of Economics, said, “Two years ago, when we organised a documentary on Muzaffarnagar riots, the ABVP supporters came and disrupted us. There is a pattern of such ruckus since the ABVP came to power. It is as if we have lost the right to express or question. Even on Tuesday, the march was peaceful until ABVP supporters started pelting stones.”