The Democratic Teachers’ Front condemns the naked violence used by the ABVP with police patronage to assault the very idea of a university yesterday and today. They violently stopped a seminar in Ramjas College yesterday since some speakers in that seminar held contrarian views to theirs. As teachers and students of Delhi University called for a peaceful march today to protest against violence and bigotry, the ABVP with full support from the police and later on the police itself systematically beat up almost everyone who dared to join the protest.
English department of the college, along with Wordcraft – the Ramjas Literary Society – had organised a two-day seminar exploring representations of dissent. Umar Khalid was one of the speakers yesterday, on 21st February, 2017. ABVP students vandalised the event, objecting to Umar Khalid’s being a participant. Two other speakers–renowned documentary filmmaker Sanjay Kak and JNU Professsor Bimol Akoijam–were also prevented from entering the venue. They surrounded the seminar room and locked up the faculty and students forcing a cancellation of the event. Bricks and stones were hurled inside the seminar room.
After ABVP’ vandalisation of the seminar, a protest was called today by students and teachers of Ramjas. The march was to reach the Maurice Nagar Police Station, demanding action against ABVP’s hooliganism. The ABVP laid siege to the college since the morning. Many of its members went inside to threaten anyone who was willing to join the march. Teachers and students from other colleges who came in solidarity remained outside. Eventually teachers and students of the college remained inside the college to hold a meeting to express disapproval of the culture of intolerance and violence. They were surrounded by a violent ABVP mob inside and assaulted repeatedly with the police only occasionally trying to separate them. In view of the open threats for further violence, the DUTA President and Treasurer requested the Joint Commissioner of Police to provide safe passage to the besieged Ramjas students. He sent police vans to escort them out in early evening.
The students and teachers from other colleges who had come to join the protest against violence were subjected to brutal assault. Many teachers were assaulted. One teacher form the Department of English had to be rushed to the Hospital. The police was mute spectator save occasional attempts to drag away the assaulters and allowing them to come back again. Given the attitude of the police not to disperse the violent mob, those assembled outside decided to march to the police station. They were escorted by the ABVP goon and suffered repeated physical assaults and stone pelting en route. At one point on the route the police picked up a few ABVP goons but allowed others the same privilege of running into protesters beat a few up and safely be separated by the police to re-initiate another round of assault.
News reporters including Apurva Chaudhary of NewsClick and Taruni Kumar of The Quint too were assaulted by the ABVP mob and suffered physical injury while their cameras were smashed for having captured images of the ABVP assault.
The most shameful story unfolded outside the police station. After a few hours of allowing the protesters to remain outside the police station, half of them were mercilessly beaten up by the police and huddled into buses. They were beaten up by the police in the buses which moved through the city and finally they were dumped in South Delhi. The ones who were not taken away by the police were brutally assaulted right outside the police station. ABVP goons were roaming the streets in the night looking for students they had identified to have participated in the protest against violence.