Delhi University’s prestigious Ramjas College today almost turned into a battle ground with students from Left-affiliated All India Students Association and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad resorting to violent clashes including hitting each other with hockey sticks that left many of them bleeding.
The genesis of the clash was an invite to Jawaharlal Nehru University students Umar Khalid, facing sedition charges, and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar on ‘Culture of Protests’ which was withdrawn by the college authorities on Tuesday following opposition by the ABVP.
Many teachers, policemen and a number of journalists also sustained injuries in the violence though a large contingent of police personnel was deployed across the North Campus of the Delhi University.
Police was not forthcoming when asked about the number of people who sustained injuries in the clash.
The clashes took place around 1 pm and police could bring the situation under control five hours later. A group of students were also locked up allegedly by ABVP activists for four hours at the college campus.
The ABVP supporters had on Tuesday also resorted to violence following which the college authorities withdrew the invitation to Rashid and Khalid, triggering widespread anger among a section of students and teachers who had planned a march on Wednesday to Maurice Nagar police station, demanding action against those involved in the ‘vandalism’.
On their part, the ABVP members did not allow the march to proceed and allegedly locked up the students and teachers inside the college campus.
At this point, some AISA members tried to barge inside the college to ‘rescue the captives’ resulting in the clashes.
Police said a first information report under various sections of the Indian Penal Code of rioting and assault of public servant has been lodged against unknown persons.
The FIR was filed based on the version of the station house officer of the Maurice Nagar police station and not on the basis of complaints by AISA-backed students and teachers belonging to Delhi University Teachers’ Association.
Investigation by two additional deputy commissioners of police has also been ordered.
Seven police personnel including the SHO of the Maurice Nagar sustained injuries.
Ramjas Principal Rajender Prasad said he is in discussion with the teachers, who were part of organisers of the event, and requested both the groups to not disrupt the peace and harmony in the college.
“Not only the ABVP completely disrupted the seminar, they were also abusing, beating women and even journalists leaving some profusely bleeding. Why can’t the police see such hooliganism? There is adequate police presence on the campus but nobody from ABVP has been detained yet,” alleged Rashid, who was formerly JNU Students’ Union vice president.
She also alleged that ‘police joined the ABVP goons’ in attacking her.
Abha Dev, a member of DU Teachers’ Association, claimed that besides ‘several students’, three teachers of different DU colleges -- Prasanta Chakraborty (English), Suvrita (History) and Mousumi Bose (Philosophy) -- were injured in the clashes and taken to Hindu Rao hospital.
IMAGES: Police detaining ABVP members after their clash with AISA students at Delhi University in Delhi on Wednesday. Photographs: PTI Photo