DU protest over Saibaba turns violent as student groups clash with police
AISA was demanding the release of former DU professor GN Saibaba and five others in a case of links to Maoist groups
New Delhi A demonstration organised at Delhi University’s Arts Faculty by members of the All India Students’ Association (AISA) and other students groups turned violent after the protestors clashed with the university’s security personnel and Delhi Police.
AISA, which was demanding the release of former DU professor GN Saibaba and five others in a case of links to Maoist groups, alleged that nearly 50 students and teachers were beaten up and detained by the DU administration and Delhi Police personnel, an allegation denied by both the varsity and the police. Instead, they accused the protesters of holding the demonstration without permission, and manhandling and misbehaving with security personnel.
Both AISA and police said the violence was captured on cameras.
“Initially five of us, including myself, gathered at the gate of the Arts Faculty but were detained by the police. We then decided to hold our public meeting with students and teachers inside the premises. We had informed the Maurice Nagar police station about our meeting on Friday. But still, a brutal campaign of repression was unleashed by the DU administration and police. Students were beaten, manhandled and injured while detaining them. The protesters were taken to Maurice Nagar and Burari police station,” AISA Delhi president Abhigyan alleged.
DU proctor Rajni Abbi said the protesters insisted on holding the protest in violation of the notification that has mandated that any protest on DU campus can be held only after “taking permission or at least informing the administration”.
“They were categorically told that no protest will be allowed in favour of someone who had been convicted by law... but they insisted on holding the agitation. Hence, the police were informed and asked to take necessary action. The agitators manhandled and misbehaved with our security staff and police personnel,” Abbi added.
Meanwhile, deputy commissioner of police (north) Sagar Singh Kalsi said the police action was carried out after DU authorities said the protesters were disturbing peace. “We detained around 40 protesters and removed them from the protesting site in buses and other official vehicles. All of them were later released. The protesters were explained about the non-availability of permission for holding the protest and were directed to disperse. It is pertinent to note that during the process of removal, they resisted and misbehaved with police and security staff of the university,” the DCP said.
On Friday, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court acquitted Saibaba, who is wheelchair-bound, along with five others. The order was welcomed by Saibaba’s family and student groups, who decided to celebrate his release by holding a gathering at DU’s Arts Faculty on Saturday.
However, on Saturday, the celebrations were converted into a protest after the Supreme Court suspended the high court judgment after convening a special sitting following the Maharashtra government’s plea against the acquittal order.