Tensions continued to simmer across Delhi University's North Campus on Thursday with students' groups holding protests against police "high-handedness" during the violent clashes in Ramjas College even as three policemen were suspended for "unprofessional" conduct.
The case relating to Wednesday's violence was handed over to the crime branch as criticism against the Delhi Police grew louder for allegedly not containing the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad during the clash with supporters of Left-affiliated All India Students Association which left many injured.
Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the government has sought a report from Delhi University on the violence. His ministerial colleague Kiren Rijiju said freedom of expression in the country doesn't give right to make college campuses hub of anti-national activities.
Delhi Police spokesperson and Special Commissioner (South West) said three policemen have been suspended for indulging in inappropriate and unprofessional conduct during the clashes at Ramjas. He said that the crime branch will carry out a thorough investigation including complaints by rival student groups about the incident.
Ramjas College on Wednesday witnessed large-scale violence between members of AISA and ABVP supporters. The genesis of the clash was an invite to Jawaharlal Nehru University students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar on 'Culture of Protests' which was withdrawn by the college authorities following opposition by the ABVP.
Classes remained suspended at Ramjas even as the authorities claimed it was due to "administrative reasons" and not because of the tense situation.
Teachers at the SGTB Khalsa college claimed that a street play competition scheduled on Thursday had to be cancelled as "police had advised them against it in view of restoring normalcy and peace on campus".
While students of JNU and DU who are members of All India Students Association staged a protest at the Delhi Police Headquarters at ITO, the Congress' student wing National Students Union of India took out a peace march to Maurice Nagar police station, near the North Campus.
The ABVP, on its part staged a protest reiterating that "they will not allow any repeat of JNU like events in Delhi University".
A huge posse of police personnel was deployed on the north campus in the wake of the situation prevailing since Wednesday even as DU Vice Chancellor Yogesh Tyagi urged the students not to resort to violence.
"People and students should not lose their cool and maintain peace on the campus. Violence of any kind should be avoided. It will neither offer any solution nor lead to anything positive. The proctor office will look into the matter," he said.
When contacted, Ramjas Principal Rajender Kumar said the college teachers are meeting on Saturday to discuss the issue.
"We (Ramjas teachers) are meeting on Saturday to discuss and take a united stand on what has happened and what needs to be done," he said.
Umar Khalid, who gave a miss to protests on Wednesday and the day before, joined the protesters at ITO in raising slogans of "ABVP se azaadi" and demanding registration of an FIR against them.
"Only a few would have heard me if I had spoken at Ramjas. Now, the whole country is hearing me. The Delhi Police has not been able to file a chargesheet against me and they say I am an anti-national and I have links with terrorist groups," he told protesters.
Members of NSUI marched toward Maurice Nagar police station chanting "Raghupati Raghav Raj Ram" as they condemned violent action by the ABVP.
"We have not called for a protest. We believe in non-violence and stand for freedom of speech and expression. We request everyone not to politicise the matter," NSUI president Amrita Dhawan said.
Around 50 members of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad also gathered outside the Arts faculty at North Campus and reiterated they will not allow "any repeat of JNU like events" in the university.
"They are anti-nationals. They disrespect the tricolor and Bharat Mata and engage in such kind of activities. We will not allow any repeat of JNU like events in Delhi university," President of Delhi University Students Union Amit Tanwar said.
A few policemen and journalists were also roughed up yesterday during the violence after students from DU colleges and JNU gathered outside Ramjas College to hold a protest march against ABVP's threat to call off the seminar.
They were demanding action against the ABVP members, who had allegedly heckled and thrown stones at students gathered for a seminar at a conference hall where Umar Khalid was invited to speak.
Before the march could take off, ABVP members reached the spot and clashed with the demonstrators despite heavy police deployment.
IMAGES: All India Students Association and Jawaharlal Nehru University students holding a protest demanding the arrest of Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad members at the police headquarters in New Delhi. Photographs: Kamal Singh/PTI Photo