Ramjas College protest highlights: Clashes between ABVP, DU students, cops crack down
Scuffles broke out on Wednesday outside Delhi’s Ramjas College during a protest march of DU students led by AISA and SFI members against the ABVP’s disruption of a literary event at the institute.
Students from the college were supposed to march to Maurice Nagar police station, demanding action against the ABVP. They were allegedly stopped by members of the student group affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Amid sloganeering and fights, police were deployed to bring the situation under control but scuffles and demonstrations did not stop.
Students from Ramjas College and other Delhi University colleges say this is a “breach of freedom of expression”.
Here are highlights of the day:
4.49 pm: Around 100 cops in riot gear deployed to maintain law and order outside the Maurice Nagar police station where students continue to shout slogans.
4.30 pm: Police stand outside the gate of Ramjas college, not letting anyone in. Some of the students and teachers are holed up inside.
4.16 pm: Three Delhi University students brought to north Delhi Municipal Corporation-run Hindu Rao Hospital’s emergency on Wednesday afternoon, with minor injuries. “They have suffered cuts and bruises but nothing serious. We referred them to the surgical department as a precautionary measure,” says Dr AK Goyal, medical superintendent at the hospital.
4.15 pm: Sloganeering continues on both sides. “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Desh ke gaddaron ko, jootey maaro...” ring on the ABVP side while the other side counters with “ABVP ki gundagardi nahi chalegi” and “ABVP campus chodo”.
4.09 pm: “There have been clashes between students before but what we saw yesterday and today is different. Teachers were attacked. If they have differences, they can protest. Why resort to violence?” says DUTA president Nandita Narain at the protest site.
4.05 pm: The Common Student Teachers March from Ramjas College to Maurice Nagar police station started at around 1pm on Wednesday demanding action against alleged vandalism by ABVP members at the literary event on Tuesday.
4 pm: Kawalpreet Kaur concludes the address to the students. Other student leaders address the crowd. Sloganeering continues on both sides.
3.55 pm: The protesting students are a mix of AISA, SFI and other non-affiliated students from different DU colleges. A few students from JNU are also present.
3.45 pm: “We will lodge complaints against the ABVP members. We will not get intimidated,” says Kawalpreet Kaur outside the police station while addressing the students.
3.40 pm: Kawalpreet Kaur, AISA presidential candidate for 2016 DUSU elections, addresses the students outside the police station.
3.36 pm: Students and ABVP members placed on either side of the barricades with ABVP members closer to the police station gates and the students on the opposite side of the road. ABVP members allegedly throw eggs and stones at the students over the barricades while the protesting students continue to raise slogans and retaliate by throwing the things back at them.
3.34 pm: Police barricades the area, segregating the protesting students from ABVP members.
3.28 pm: AISA member Kawalpreet Kaur says that they had intimated the police about the ‘peaceful march’ earlier. “ABVP was beating us despite police being present. Many girls complained that they were touched inappropriately,” Kaur says.
3.22 pm: ABVP members sit outside Maurice Nagar police station blocking the entry for others students who want to go inside to lodge complaint against them.
3.20 pm: Protesters reach Maurice Nagar police station.
3.18 pm: Delhi Police asks shopkeepers around Patel Chest Institute to bring down their shutters.
3.14 pm: Ramjas teacher Vineeta Chandra, who is inside the campus with her students, says that the violence is unbelievable. “ABVP members are brutally beating up students,” Chandra tells HT. She claims that students involved in the event are being held within the campus for their safety. “They have been identified, so it is not safe for them to venture out. There are some faculty members and also cops here in the campus to ensure that they are safe,” she says.
3.11 pm: Delhi Police says a case will be registered. Protesters are being detained.
3.09 pm: A student named Burhan receives head injuries, taken to hospital. ABVP member and former DUSU president Satinder Awana says, “ We cannot allow anti-nationals to speak on the campus. Only ordinary students are protesting against anti-nationals.”
3.08 pm: Students are carrying their bags files on heads to save themselves from beating.
3.02 pm: DU’s English Department faculty member Prasanta Chakraborty taken to the hospital after he was attacked. “I was beaten up by 15 people, possibly ABVP members... I was at the site, in solidarity with the protesting students,” he tells HT.
3 pm: Police create a human chain. ABVP members are on one side and the protesting students are on the other. The march towards the police station has resumed.
2.54 pm: Delhi Police spokesperson Dependra Pathak tells HT that groups of protesters have been separated. “As of now no party has filed any complaint. We do not have reports of anyone injured in the clash.”
2.53 pm: A journalist from Catch News attacked.
2.50 pm: JNU student Shehla Rashid’s phone snatched. Shehla was to speak at the Ramjas event on Wednesday. The invitation to her was cancelled after Tuesday’s protest, and the event was called off.
2.48 pm: ABVP members use the art faculty back gate, and SRCC gate to intercept the march. They allegedly throw bottles at protesting students.
2.47 pm: ABVP members enter from another route to intercept the march and tries to disrupt the protest
2.45 pm: The protesters have started moving again.
2.42 pm: The march has stopped outside Daulat Ram College.
2.40 pm: Students, led by AISA and SFI members, continue their protest march towards Maurice Nagar Police Station, shout slogans against ABVP.
2.23 pm: Phone and equipment of another journalist from a news portal broken by protestors
2.22 pm: Some protesters try snatching Hindustan Times journalist Heena Kausar’s phone. Delhi Police intervenes to get Heena’s phone back.
What happened on Tuesday:
ABVP members on Tuesday disrupted an event for which Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid was invited, prompting the college to take back an invitation to another JNU student, Shehla Rashid.
The college was forced to call off the seminar after heated protests against Rashid and Khalid, who was accused of shouting anti-India slogans last year.
Members of the college student union and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) disrupted the event even before Khalid reached the campus.
Khalid was invited by the college’s Literary Society to speak in the afternoon on a subject related to his PhD, which he is doing from JNU. His topic at the seminar was The War in Adivasi Areas.
Khalid, a former member of the ultra-radical Democratic Students Union (DSU), was arrested last year on charges of sedition for his role in organising a rally at JNU to commemorate the anniversary of the execution of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
Anti-national slogans were allegedly shouted at the event. Following his arrest, Rashid, then the vice president of the JNU union, emerged as the face of a stir, demanding the release of Khalid and fellow students jailed for the controversial event.