A clash broke out between students of All India Students Association (AISA) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at the Ramjas College campus in Delhi over inviting Jawaharlal Nehru University student Umar Khalid to a college event. AISA and ABVP are the student wings of the Communist Party of India (M-L) and the Bharatiya Janata Party respectively.
Ramjas College students decided to take out a protest march against ABVP to the Maurice Nagar police station demanding action against it for disrupting a literary event. According to Hindustan Times, the students were apparently stopped by a group of people belonging to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Scuffles broke out as the protesting students tried to march to the police station and ABVP and RSS men tried to stop them. The police has been deployed to control the situation.
They formed a human chain to separate the protesters from the ABVP. A journalist from the Quint was allegedly manhandled and her phone and equipment were broken.
"People from the ABVP are not allowing students who had come to attend a protest march to leave the college," Kawalpreet Kaur, President of the All India Students Association's (AISA) Delhi University unit, told IANS.
A faculty member from Delhi University's Department of English was allegedly beaten up while protesting in solidarity with the students and had to be taken to the hospital. The faculty member said that those who assaulted him probably belonged to ABVP.
One of the AISA members claimed that many girls complained that they were touched inappropriately during the scuffle. Apparently ABVP members also threw eggs and stones at the protesting students.
Shehla Rashid, former vice-president of JNUSU, claimed that apparently the police did nothing to stop the ABVP members when they turned violent and in turn lathicharged the protesters who were peaceful.
Umar Khalid was among the students charged with sedition in connection with an event at JNU last year where anti-national slogans were allegedly raised. He had been invited to speak on 'The War in Adivasi Areas', the subject on which he is writing a PhD thesis, at a seminar on 21 February, organised by Ramjas College's literary society. However, the invitation was cancelled after violent protests by members of ABVP.
Messages have been in circulation on various whatsapp groups asking DU students to raise their voices against the invitation to Umar Khalid. One reads:
"It is very unfortunate that elements like Umar Khalid are being invited to speak in the campuses (Ramjas College, 21 feb 2017) who have been booked and indicted by the Court for their alleged involvement in the Anti-National sloganeering held on 9th Feb 2016 in JNU which involved call for Azaadi and fragmenting this country into pieces, evoking emotions by appealing to political fault lines and demanding the liberation of Kashmir and eulogizing terrorists like: Afzal Guru as National Heroes.
It's a sincere appeal to our nationalist and patriotic friends not to entertain such divisive elements and groups behind them who hijack our academic spaces for furthering their ideological propaganda. These people mock the judgement of court and tarnish the sanctity of judiciary by calling the judgement, "Judicial Killings". An intellectual syndicate consisting of professors, students, media and academia is working behind this nefarious agenda to defame our country, promote hatred and angst against Indian state among the youth, exploiting the sentiments of younger generations by pumping their venomous ideas which will force them to denigrate their own country, it's legacy and ideology. So it's high time that we raise our voice against these pseudo academic, anti national elements and resist their vitriolic speeches and public meetings.
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