Delhi University’s North campus has come to resemble a battleground with glass bottles, stones and even lunch packets being hurled at students, as chants of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ ring through the air.


On Wednesday, members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad attacked protesting students, breaking through the chain formed by the police, beating some of them and pulling women by their hair. Even journalists capturing the violence on their phones were not spared.


Shops, meanwhile, downed their shutters even as an unsuspecting roadside vendor had bottles of ‘banta soda’ stolen and used as projectiles. This, at one of the most sought-after campuses for higher education.


The violence was not restricted to the streets. In Ramjas College, students and organisers of the ‘Cultures of Protest’ were held captive and beaten up by the ABVP. Even teachers were not spared. Prasanta Chakraborty, an English professor, was taken away in an ambulance. The students were kept from leaving the college and joining a planned march.


Later, students led by the All India Students’ Union (AISA) managed to head towards the Maurice Nagar police station with the police forming a human chain around them. This, however, failed to act as a deterrent as the students were attacked again. This time, it was outside SRCC when ABVP members cut across the Arts Faculty and intercepted the march. The tense situation continued till the two groups reached the police station.


The students then sat down outside the police station and demanded that an FIR be filed against the ABVP members. After over two hours, the police launched a lathicharge and carried away students in buses.


The situation remained tense till Wednesday evening with reports of ABVP members on the lookout for students who had not been detained. Many parents frantically called up their children after the violence played out on television. Professors of Ramjas College were seen trying to organise a safe passage for students.


“There have been clashes between students before, but what we saw yesterday and today is different. Teachers were attacked. If they have differences, they can protest. Why resort to violence?” said DUTA president Nandita Narain.




23 February 2017 The Hindu

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