‘ABVP go back go back’—slogans were heard over and over again across the North Campus of the Delhi University (DU) on February 28 after students and faculty from various colleges took out a protest march against the violence by the alleged ABVP activists at Ramjas college a few days back.
The students and teachers from the Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University took out a protest march from the Khalsa College to the Arts Faculty. Many prominent faces like Kanhaiya Kumar, leader of the All India Student Federation, politicians Yogendra Yadav, Sitaram Yechury among others were present to support the protesting students and teachers. The protest march started at 12:30 pm.
Today’s rally was in protest against the clashes that took place on February 22 between the left-affiliated All India Students Association (AISA) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) over cancellation of Umar Khalid’s event organised in Ramjas College.
The reason behind the clashes was an invite extended to JNU students Umar Khalid—who is facing sedition charge—and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar. The seminar was withdrawn by the college authorities following opposition by the ABVP.
“ABVP Khabardar Khabardar, Mahilayen Hain Taiyaar (Beware ABVP, women are prepared),” students from Miranda House, one of the premier Women’s Institutions of Delhi University, raised the slogans in protest.
“We are taking out a march to protest against violence by ABVP. These are Universities, there has to space to discuss and deliberate on various issues and we are not ready to go along with this hurt sentiment politics,” a lecturer at Miranda House said.
“Yeh University Humari hai gundon ki jageer nahi (This University belongs to us, not to the hooligans),” some students said while targeting the ABVP.
Meanwhile, ABVP accused the “outsiders” of vandalism and anti-national propaganda on the Delhi University (DU) campus and questioned the silence of the university’s Vice Chancellor over the issue.
“It was outsiders who disturbed the atmosphere of Delhi University campus,” DU Student Union General Secretary Ankit Sangwan of the ABVP said at a press conference here.
Demanding strict action against the “anti-national programme”, the ABVP leader asked why was the Delhi University Vice Chancellor silent over the whole issue.
Sangwan said that the outsiders were responsible for the disturbances on the campus and the student union members protested against it in a peaceful way. The outfit denied that its leaders indulged in violence.
Sangwan and the other leaders of ABVP declared that they would not tolerate anti-national slogans on the university’s campus and would continue to protest and fight against those elements.
Meanwhile, Yogendra Yadav, co-founder of the Swaraj Abhiyan, said: “It’s a significant moment in the history of Delhi University because it has been deemed to be a University (which is) rather quiet on political issues. It’s been seen to be University where ABVP, Congress type politics dominate. In that University, for this kind of crowd to come… it’s extraordinary. It may be a turning point in the history of Delhi University.”
“They cannot win this with their intellectual skill and want to replace it with violence,” another politician Sitaram Yechury said on ABVP.
Earlier in the day, NHRC has also issued a notice to Delhi Police Commissioner over allegations of police excesses outside Ramjas College in DU Campus on the 22 February, on the day when the clashes took place.
On February 21, Umar Khalid was supposed to speak at the seminar organised by Literary Society of Ramjas College on ‘The War in Adivasi Areas’.
Soon after his event was called off, Umar took to this Facebook handle and wrote, “Such is the state of democracy in our country where attackers are given complete protection and those facing attacks are held responsible for the attacks on them.”
Umar Khalid was among the three students to be arrested on charges of sedition for organising an event on Afzal Guru in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in 2016.