Activists of student organisations — right-wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and left-leaning Students for Society (SFS) — clashed on the Panjab University campus on Monday, in an apparent fallout of the row over the disruption of a literary event at Delhi University’s Ramjas College last week.
The situation at Student Centre, where the clash broke out, became so tense that police had to be called in, with the rival outfits resorting to violence and hurling abuses at each other. Eight students — four each belonging to the two organisations — were arrested as preventive measure on the complaint of the PU chief security officer.
Arrest a preventive measure: Police
Sector-11 station house officer (SHO) Lakhbir Singh said, “We have arrested them as a preventive measure under sections 107 and 151 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). We will produce them before the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) tomorrow. Their medical will also be conducted at Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH), Sector 16.”
Those arrested are Saurabh Kapoor, Kushal Kondal, Harmanjot Singh Gill and Akshay of ABVP; Ravinder Singh, Gurpreet, Ramanpreet and Daman of SFS.
Reports said over 100 ABVP supporters gathered at the Student Centre at 1:30pm to hold a protest against the SFS, which they said had called the security forces “rapists” in a speech at PU on Saturday in response to the Ramjas incident. Soon after they started raising slogans, the SFS supporters entered into an argument with them, and it eventually took the shape of a brawl.
Student outfits indulge in blame game
ABVP state president Saurabh Kapoor said, “We strongly condemn the violence by SFS.” ABVP spokesperson Harmanjot Singh said, “If such things are happening here and the university is not taking action against them it means they are hand in glove with each other.”
SFS spokesperson Harmandeep said, “On Saturday, we organised a demonstration against the ABVP’s hooliganism at Ramjas College. During the demonstration, a speaker citing a National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report on rapes of 16 tribal women by security forces in Chhattisgarh argued that such issues should be raised in universities. The ABVP made an issue out of this.”
Here is what the SFS supporters said on their Facebook page:
Another SFS leader said the ABVP was trying to impose their “pseudo-nationalist agenda” on the PU campus. “After their demonstration media persons invited SFS for a bite. While the media persons were taking bites from both sides then ABVP activists started using abusive language and indulged in hooliganism. In the melee, a SFS member’s turban was removed forcefully.”
When contacted, dean students welfare (DSW) Emanuel Nahar said, “The brawl took place after a student leader made a statement during a protest. I believe that such political issues should not be brought up at academic institutions.”
“As the matter became serious, the chief security officer had to call police and asked the SHO concerned to take appropriate legal action against the students named in the complaint.”
How it started
Over 100 ABVP supporters gathered at the Student Centre at 1:30pm on Monday to hold a protest against SFS, which they said had called the security forces “rapists” in a speech at PU on Saturday in response to the Ramjas incident. Soon after they started raising slogans, the SFS supporters entered into an argument with them, and it eventually took the shape of a brawl.
NSUI’s candlelight march for ‘peace’
In the wake of the clash between ABVP and SFS members at PU on Monday, the National Students Union of India (NSUI) held a candlelight march starting from Student Centre, to what they termed as “a message of peaceful environment in the university”.
Later in the evening , SFS supporters also held a rally on the campus against the alleged hooliganism of ABVP.