Regular-article-logo Wednesday, 04 October 2023

Cop violence on march against violence

The bedlam began after around two hours of talks

Pheroze L. Vincent New Delhi Published 09.01.20, 09:23 PM
A marcher being detained in New Delhi

A marcher being detained in New Delhi Picture by Prem Singh

A march against mob violence ended with a gash on the head from a swinging police baton for one student on Thursday. Some others found themselves chased by police on the streets between Parliament and Connaught Circus.

The bedlam began after students’ and teachers’ representatives walked out at the end of around two hours of talks, held to restore peace at JNU, with Union human resource development secretary Amit Khare.


On Sunday, thugs had run wild on the campus attacking supporters of a now 74-day-old student strike against a hostel fee hike --- an agitation spearheaded by the Left-led students’ union and opposed by the RSS student arm ABVP.

A teacher and students’ union president Aishe Ghosh suffered serious head wounds, while 32 others too were injured.

Thursday afternoon’s march from Mandi House to the human resource development ministry saw participation from leaders of the Left parties, Congress, RJD and former Janata Dal United leader Sharad Yadav.

Held a day after the nationwide strike by workers and students, the march drew participants from as far as Punjab and Uttarakhand, galvanised into action by the images of rampaging masked men at JNU and the defiant statements of a bandaged Ghosh.

“Boiling milk eventually spills over,” said Siddharth Mishra, a young farmer from Haridwar who wore a mask to represent “the terrorists who entered JNU”.

“There were no protests where I come from, so I came to Delhi as it is not right to sit at home when democracy is under attack,” he told The Telegraph.

While an 11-member delegation met Khare and other officials, CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar and other senior politicians spoke to the students.

“Deepika Padukone did not speak a word, nor did she name the ABVP or the BJP or the RSS. She only met the injured and said violence was bad,” Kanhaiya said, underlining the Right wing’s intolerance of even a modicum of dissent.

“Those boycotting her film are admitting their role in the violence. The vice-chancellor, who asks those who support the injured to speak up against the Wi-Fi being cut, is actually admitting his role in letting the goons inside. Those who voted BJP may have given their heart to Modi, but have they lost their minds too?”

The JNU authorities have accused the student protesters of vandalising the campus communications and information services centre.

Stepping out after the meeting, Ghosh said on a loudspeaker: “Dialogue is not the response to the injuries I have sustained on my head. The response to my injuries has to be the MHRD instructing the VC’s removal…. We won’t stop here and will march to Rashtrapati Bhavan.”

The President is the JNU Visitor and has the power to initiate proceedings to remove the VC, a key demand from the students and teachers.

As the students tried to march on to Janpath, they were detained and put in buses. Some were beaten with batons and kicked while being detained or while trying to evade the cops. All of them were released later.

A student named Shivang was caned by several constables and was taken to hospital with a gash on his head. Many students fled and regrouped outside Rajiv Chowk Metro station where the CRPF cornered them.

Sangh parivar activists too gathered at the spot, chanting slogans such as “JNU traitors go to Pakistan”.

On the campus, posters have been put up with pictures of ABVP members whom their opponents accuse of orchestrating Sunday’s violence, and calling for them to be socially boycotted. In a statement, the ABVP called it a “Nazi-style fascist execution list”.

“It takes time to break the web of propaganda,” said Vipul Abhishek, a Delhi University law student who took part in the march.

“If even 500 people see these repeated protests, they will understand that something wrong is happening and begin to ask questions.”

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