The political tension between the Student Union parties has reached a new high at a meeting today organized by the All India Students’ Association (AISA). An open meeting was organized at The Arts Faculty, University of Delhi on Thursday, October 27th 2016 to facilitate a productive discussion concerning the idea of ‘Freedom of Expression.’ With a slogan of Don’t Cage our Ideas, Don’t cage our Universities, the Idea of University saw speakers with ideologies of promoting an egalitarian environment, supporting free expression and thought. However, the event took a stark turn with reports chiming in about the chaotic clash between the right and the left wing, turning into a pure he said-she said controversy.
AISA’s account of what transpired at the Arts Faculty today is diametrically different to what ABVP has conveyed. The event was scheduled for today, 12 pm onwards and the organising entities had already been subjected to the hostile attitude of the administration who created a fuss regarding the payment factor, and moved on to allow the placement of the event with the terms that there will be no usage of mics. It saw a gathering of about 250-300 people and about 2:30 the sloganeering began with slogans like ‘Rapist AISA’, ‘Laal Gulaani Chod ke, bolo Vande Mataram’, ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’. As ABVP was within the premises and holding a parallel event, they reportedly began hurling ‘lux soaps’ at the AISA activists, which AISA presidential candidate, Kawalpreet Kaur, interprets as, “The ‘soap’ meant that I need to clean myself, my mind and my body and passed sexist comments on me. As if a ‘BHARAT MATA’ should be well groomed and tidy.” The first act of violence was then followed by a full-fledged disruption led by the DUSU President, Amit Tanwar who resorted to physical violence against the activists along with members of his community. The left wing members were also assaulted with rape threats and physical aggression, as the Delhi Police consisting of almost 50 people, reportedly failed to control the mob. An AISA activist who was present at the event said, “The ABVP has once again proven its intolerance for a free and uncaged student community. We have been subjected to various hindrances, starting right from the administration with their discriminatory policy to the stark insecurity of the ABVP with the voice of dissent. Showers of stones and anti-national slogans were tossed at us, however, we are yet to be dissuaded from waging a just fight.”
In the hours between 1pm to 3pm, ABVP claims to have conducted a human chain protest in the Arts Faculty, North Campus to protest against the increasing communal atmosphere across the university. It is reported that a female activist of ABVP was hurled a stone at by a member of AISA, who then purposely began the scuffle and the consequent attack. AISA members then proceeded to toss casteist smears and abuses on the ABVP members, which was termed as an act of publicity. Three members of the ABVP community, DUSU President Amit Tanwar, Jyoti and Harshita were reportedly attacked and taken to the hospital. There were also reports of a journalist who provoked the ABVP members with slogans and later falsely claimed that he had sustained injuries. The ABVP activists are also said to have borne the brunt of the police who beat them up. ABVP claims that the event organized by AISA, The Idea of University, was illegally executed as it lacked the pre-requisite of a prior permission.
The versions of both the parties share no common ground, and are being circulated across the social media with pictures and videos as evidences for both the sides. The clash has come after rising strains between the two wings; one, condemning the spreading of communist ideas, and the other, lobbying for the freedom of expression and ideas in this vast area of education.
Update: Videos later emerged on AISA’s page, showing ABVP members charging towards the AISA gathering for the Idea of a University event.