Groups of students clashed in Jamia Millia Islamia on Tuesday during a picketing of the administrative building, sending at least one youth to hospital and bringing riot police to the gates of the southeast Delhi varsity.
Student groups have been on strike since October 14, demanding withdrawal of show-cause notices to five students for protesting against the Global Health Zenith Confluence — an expo organised earlier this month by the Faculty of Architecture and Ekistics in which Israel was a country partner.
The five facing a probe for their protest over Israel’s occupation of Palestine say they were roughed up and detained by university security guards in the proctor’s office.
After a protest march at 1pm on Tuesday, students began picketing the administrative building. Abu Darda Khan of the Dayar-i-shauq Students Charter — one of the protesting groups — told The Telegraph: “In the evening, goons began beating up students and the guards moved aside. This was a pre-planned attack on us and more than 25 students are injured.”
Students shared videos of two groups of youths wearing backpacks and whipping each other with belts, with guards trying to separate them.
Varsity spokesman Ahmad Azeem said: “Today, a group of students backed by some student organisations gheraoed the vice-chancellor’s office, laid siege to the office complex and physically blocked all the gates of exit.
“A group of senior teachers and officials of the university met the agitating students and listened to their concerns patiently and requested them to lift their siege of the administrative complex…. The teachers also assured them that their demands… will be discussed at the highest level…. The teachers also requested the students to send some of their representatives for talks but they refused.”
He added: “A number of delegates who were attending a conference organised by the English department on Mahatma Gandhi were also not allowed to go out of the main administrative complex…. Teachers requested the students to allow the delegates to leave but they refused. When the students of the English department tried to help the delegates take out their vehicles, the protesting students physically stopped them. A scuffle broke out between the groups of students. The protesting students damaged vehicles parked in the complex where they have laid the siege….”
The SFI, the CPIML-Liberation’s All India Students Association, the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist)-backed All India Democratic Students Organisation and Pinjra Tod, an autonomous women’s collective of students and alumni of colleges across Delhi, condemned the attack on the protesters.
RJD MP Manoj Jha tweeted: “A peaceful protest by aggrieved students outside VC office is responded to by the Jamia administration in such a brutal manner…. Let’s not forget the ethos which inspired the foundation of #JamiaMilliaIslamia...Dayar-I Shauq mera.”
Dayar-i-Shauq is the Jamia’s anthem.