Violence erupted at Telangana’s Satavahana University on Monday after Dalit students groups, who were observing ‘Manusmriti Dahan Diwas’ by burning copies of Manusmriti, were allegedly attacked by members of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday.
According to The New Minute, at least eight people belonging to Bharatiya Janata Party allegedly used sticks and stones to attack a group of Dalit students who were burning the books.
The attacked students were members of the Progressive Democratic Students’ Union, Dalit Students Union, Telangana Vidyarthi Vedika and Bahujan Students Union.
“As usual we planned to burn the casteist book. The incident took place at around 10.30am. We don’t know who these people were. They barged into the campus when we were about to burn the papers of Manusmriti. They had come well prepared with sticks and stones and started attacking us,” The News Minute quoted Jupakka Srinivas, of Progressive Democratic Students as saying.
He said this was the first time such an incident happened on the campus, and that the BJP’s student wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad, had never objected to the burning of Manusmriti earlier.
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Police had resort to baton-charge to control the violence.
Meanwhile, Police has detained around 22 people from both groups and seized their phones. They are examining videos of the incident and an investigation is underway.
While Dalit groups claimed that they were only observing “Manusmriti Burning Day”, the BJP alleged that they were shouting anti-India slogans.
Bandi Sanjay, a local Bharatiya Janata Party spokesperson, rubbished the allegations by Dalit groups saying they had nothing to do with Manusmriti Dahan Diwas.
The party had to intevene because the students were raising slogans against Bharat Mata, the Hindu religion and the RSS, The News Minute reported.
“When they raised slogans against Bharat Mata, by tearing the photo of Bharat Mata, two locals, including a Dalit, objected to it. However, they were beaten by these students. Later the BJP workers and locals had to intervene,” The New Minute quoted the leader as saying. He also claimed that it was the students who attacked the BJP workers first.
Karimnagar Additional DCP law and order, Sanjeev Kumar said that the attackers were also students who were celebrating Atal Bihar Vajpayee’s birthday.
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“When they spotted the Dalit-Bahujan students trying to burn Manusmriti, they took objection to it. A war of words ensued between the two groups, which escalated to stone pelting,” the DCP said.