28/02/2017 4:00 PM IST | Updated 28/02/2017 4:50 PM IST

Students, Teachers From DU, JNU, Jamia March To Reclaim The Space For Dissent In Universities

'Against the onslaught of ABVP'

Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NEW DELHI -- Hundreds of students and teachers of Delhi University, JNU and Jamia today hit the streets with a call to "save" the varsities from the "onslaught" of ABVP and "curbing" of dissent.

The students held posters with messages like "Your nationalism is not above our democracy".

The protesters, mainly comprising students of left forums like AISA, shouted slogans "ABVP Go Back" and "Azaadi" as the march made its way through the roads of North Campus towards the Arts Faculty building.

The gates of the colleges falling on the route of the march, which began from the gates of Khalsa College, were shut.

"We are marching to reclaim the space to debate and discuss. It is about the freedom to coexist, yet disagree," a student said.

Left leaders like Sitaram Yechury and D Raja too joined the protest march against ABVP. "They cannot win this with their intellectual skill and want to replace it with violence," said Yechury.

There was heavy police deployment to prevent a rerun of the clashes that were witnessed between ABVP and AISA last week following cancellation of an event at Ramjas College after activists of the RSS-backed students' wing objected to the invitation to JNU student leaders Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid.

One of the faculty members, marching with the students, alleged that the university has been "taken over" and that authorities were not acting to prevent it.

Earlier, LSR student Gurmehar Kaur withdrew from her social media campaign against the ABVP after allegedly receiving threats from the members of the RSS-backed outfit and being trolled by the ruling BJP leaders and ministers.

In a Facebook post Yechury had flayed the Modi government and the Sangh Parivar over the death and and rape threats to Gurmehar Kaur for taking on the ABVP.

"Ministers are supposed to work under the constitutional oath to ensure the rule of law. The current lot, instead, jumps to the support of those who threaten, abuse and bully a 20-year-old lady," Yechury said.

"Sangh Parivar has no strength of conviction in its reasoning, the threat of violence is its only weapon against ideas," he said.

Yesterday, the ABVP had taken out a 'Tiranga march', "to save the nation", from Ramjas College to the Arts Faculty.

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