Sections of atrocity and rioting have been invoked by the Dharavi police against the accused allegedly involved in disrupting a rally organised on Sunday to condemn the death of Dalit PhD scholar Rohith Vemula. The complainant Ramesh Jaiswar, 38, alleged the accused are Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) workers.
The RSS, however, claimed the rally participants assaulted a sevak.
According to Jaiswar’s complaint, the rally was about to end when 15 to 16 people allegedly began assaulting participants, which included several Dalits and students. He claimed some of the attackers were from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) as well. The RSS has refuted the allegations.
The incident came a day after ABVP’s Matunga office was ransacked by a group of men on Saturday. The rally was organised by The Nationalist Forum, a joint-action committee comprising of various students’ and activists’ associations fighting for justice for Vermula.
“We were raising slogans demanding arrests of those responsible for Vermula’s death when suddenly RSS and ABVP activists started to insult our caste and beat us with sticks,” said Jaiswar, a software engineer, in his complaint to the police. The complainant alleged the women were touched inappropriately.
The RSS stated they were abused and assaulted. “The route of the rally was changed and when it was passing our office, the workers sitting there were abused. When they went to ask the reason, they were beaten up and a sevak was injured,” said senior RSS activist Pramod Bapat.
Following the incident, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) condemned the incident and said, “We should stand by the students who are the architects of the nation’s future.” The Dharavi police said they have detained a few people who are being questioned.