Just over a year after Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) was rocked by turmoil over allegations of anti-national slogans raised on its campus, a new war zone has been created in Delhi University’s Ramjas College.
Ramjas College was hit by violence on Wednesday after an event organised by its Literary Society faced the ire of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). The RSS-backed organisation objected to the participation of JNU student Umar Khalid.
Members of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU) and ABVP disrupted the event on Tuesday even before Khalid reached the campus. Khalid was invited by the college’s Literary Society to speak on The War in Adivasi Areas. Following protests organisers cancelled the invite to Khalid and Shehla Rashid, another JNU student.
Teachers said the protesters hurled stones at the conference centre, where the event titled Cultures of Protest was being held, and cut off electricity supply.
Ramjas principal Rajendra Prasad said the lecture was cancelled because of protests as well as ‘advice’ from police that the situation could become unmanageable.
Vinita Chandra, who teaches English at Ramjas, said some of the students had held a “peaceful” counter-protest on Tuesday. “On Wednesday, again students were attacked by ABVP members inside the college. They threw chairs at teachers and students. Hit students on the head. We were holed up inside the college for hours before police escorted us out in the evening,” she said.
On Wednesday, students planned to take out a march against ABVP. The march was joined by students from different colleges, students from JNU and was led by Left-leaning students’ groups.
But the march turned violent. ABVP members said they were protesting against the alleged anti-national slogans raised at the college on Tuesday, a charge denied by teachers from Ramjas.
“This anti-India sloganeering will not be tolerated in DU. We have lodged a complaint with the police and college principal. Allegations of violence are a lie,” said Amit Tanwar, DUSU president.
Save DU, a campaign run by students and teachers announced they will hold a protest march on Thursday at the police headquarters at ITO.
“Delhi Police must immediately register an FIR and arrest all the ABVP rioters. Delhi Police must suspend those officials who attacked peaceful protesters and silently watched ABVP’s violence,” they said.