Ramjas College row: Protest and clashes in Mumbai and Pune keep campuses on boil
Following the Ramjas College controversy in Delhi University, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), Bharatiya Janata Party’s student wing, protested at the Kalina campus of University of Mumbai on Saturday.
The row erupted on Tuesday after JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid were invited to speak at a literary seminar in Ramjas College. Khalid was arrested last year and booked for sedition for organising a rally on the JNU campus. Rashid was the then vice-president of the JNU students’ union.
On Wednesday, to protest against the cancellation of the seminar, left-wing student groups took out a march in Delhi where clashes broke out and students, journalists and police personnel were injured, allegedly by ABVP workers.
On Saturday, ABVP workers burnt an effigy of Khalid on the Kalina campus and demanded action against some ‘anti-nationals’ who had taken out the march. “Many anti-national slogans were raised in the protest, including ‘free Kashmir’ and ‘free Bastar’. The march was organised by some anti-national miscreants. We want strict action against such people,” said Rohit Chandode, Mumbai Mahanagar secretary of ABVP.
Meanwhile, the ‘anti-national’ issue led to the arrest of nine students of ABVP and Students’ Federation of India (SFI) after they clashed at Savitribai Phule Pune University Friday evening.
Members of both organisations lodged complaints against each other. The police arrested five ABVP members and four from SFI. They were booked for violating prohibitory orders, causing breach of peace and causing hurt and injuries.
SFI workers staged a march on Saturday evening to protest against the incident.
Sources said ABVP activists burnt an effigy of Khalid on Friday morning. SFI members retaliated later that evening by putting up posters condemning Maharashtra education minister Vinod Tawde for ‘threatening’ their colleagues at a Solapur polytechnic college. This angered ABVP activists.
“We were attacked by ABVP activists, along with a few outsiders,” said SFI secretary Vlas Pable. The right-wing group, however, defended its actions. “We are firmly opposed to inviting Umar Khalid to Ramjas College,” said ABVP secretary Pradeep Gawde. Police personnel have been deployed on the campus.