How Ramjas College Violence Spilled Over to the Cyber Space
If 2016 began with the upheaval in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Hyderabad Central University (HCU), 2017 saw violent assault on student protesters in Delhi University’s prestigious North Campus. On Monday, the RSS’s student wing — Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) — carried out a ‘Tiranga march’ on campus. A look at how the violent episode unfolded.
NSUI activists participate in peace march at Delhi University in New Delhi on February 23. (PTI)
New Delhi: If 2016 began with the upheaval in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Hyderabad Central University (HCU), 2017 saw violent assault on student protesters in Delhi University’s prestigious North Campus. On Monday, the RSS’s student wing — Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) — carried out a ‘Tiranga march’ on campus.
Here’s how the violent episode unfolded:
February 21, Tuesday: Ramjas College cancels a seminar titled ‘Culture of Protest’ after ABVP activists protest against JNU research scholar Umar Khalid and former JNUSU vice-president Shehla Rashid’s participation at the event. Khalid was scheduled to speak in the afternoon on ‘The War in Adivasi Areas’ at the event organised by the Literary Society of Ramjas College. However, the ABVP starts protesting even before his arrival. Khalid made the news last year when he was booked for sedition alongside fellow research scholar Anirban Bhattacharya and then JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans on JNU campus. A video of Tuesday’s events that has gone viral on social media shows stones being pelted allegedly by ABVP activists. Professors at Ramjas College had claimed that Khalid was invited due to his “academic credentials”. Police cordon off the college.
February 22, Wednesday: A protest march is organised at 1 pm from Ramjas College to Maurice Nagar Police Station to protest against the ABVP’s actions. Protests turn ugly as the ABVP allegedly assault agitating students. Journalists covering the event are also manhandled. Several professors are assaulted and some even land in hospital. For over four hours, students inside Ramjas cannot move out. The ABVP allegedly “surrounds” the college. It is only around 5 pm that the students are evacuated and the action moves to Maurice Nagar Police Station. Despite these protests, the police fail to register an FIR on Wednesday.
February 23, Thursday: A protest is organised outside the Delhi Police headquarters at ITO over the police’s failure to register an FIR. It is only after over four hours of protest that an FIR is finally registered. Agitating students, however, were not satisfied with the FIR since it names both ABVP and AISA as equal parties. They claim an incident of alleged one-sided assault by the ABVP is being portrayed as a case of clashes between two student groups.
February 24, Friday: Gurmehar Kaur, daughter of Kargil War martyr Captain Mandeep Singh, uploads a picture of herself holding a placard against the ABVP on social media. The placard read, “I am a student from Delhi University. I am not afraid of ABVP. I am not alone. Every student of India is with me. #StudentsAgainstABVP.” The post went viral and triggered a social media movement for free speech on campuses.
February 26, Sunday: Kaur claims she got death and rape threats from ABVP supporters on social media.
February 27, Monday: She is attacked on social media by several celebrities, including cricketer Virender Sehwag, actor Randeep Hooda and Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju. However, she gets support from several quarters. Her supporters include Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and senior journalists like Shekhar Gupta and Barkha Dutt. Kaur approaches the Delhi Commission for Women. Swati Maliwal, DCW chief, takes a strict view of the matter and asks Delhi Police take action against all those threatening her. Meanwhile, the ABVP carries out a ‘Tiranga March’ on campus to protest against “anti-national” elements.
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