The DUTA strike held from the 19th of March witnessed student quarters of different colleges espousing the cause of the teachers’ strike. In the event of the unfortunate lack of camaraderie between two student groups enveloped by a conflict of interests, a tussle broke out in Sri Venkateswara College on the 23rd of March 2018. There were allegations by a group of students who were protesting with the teachers, that members of the ABVP unit of the college stormed their protest and disrupted the strike.
In a phone call conversation with the DU Beat correspondent, Akangsha Chetri, a student protester, described the incident, “While we were striking along with the teachers, the Vice President Alok Rajput and the Joint Secretary Sanjay Sharma walked in with a group of people who aren’t even from our college. They were carrying Bhagat Singh’s poster because it was his birthday. And they suddenly announced that they’d be organising a tribute and asked us to move from there. They said that our music was disrupting their program.” She went on to say, “We tried to talk it out peacefully. We told them that we would turn our music down, but then they started threatening male members of the strike with physical violence. They flung abuses at the girls. One of our professors C. Rawat who tried to mediate was insulted.”
Student protester Nikhil alleged, “While the ABVP people flagged slogans such as ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’, they also screamed ‘Vaampanthiyon Ko Kabar Mein Daalo’ (bury the communists), thereby referring to the protesters.”
In lieu of the incident, some of the student protesters had decided to hold a silent protest outside the administration office on the 24th of March, wherein they would wear black and put tape over their mouth. It was supposed to commence at 10:45 a.m. However, as told to this correspondent by Prema, the hostel President, the administration released a notice early in the morning informing the students that the college would remain closed for the occasion of Navratri. The correspondent was further informed that the protesters weren’t allowed to hold their silent protest in the college premises thereafter.
When the DU Beat approached the President of the college Prabal, he observed, “Taali Kabhi Ek Haat Se Nahi Bajti (you need both hands to clap). Both sides are at fault. The ABVP members had requested the striking students to lower the volume of their music, but the striking students started shouting anti-ABVP slogans. The ABVP members got enraged and that resulted in a tussle.”
When asked about a video of the tussle uploaded online by a professor, Prabal remarked, “Some of the striking teachers are biased towards the students who support their cause.” He further went on to assert, “These students share the leftist ideology. Some of them are even members of All India Students’ Association (AISA).”
On being asked about the future course of action, Akangsha said, “We have been able to procure a promise of action from the administration with regards to the security of the campus and also regarding the filing of FIRs against people who were accused. So right now, we are writing testimonies and sending applications to the Principal to bring justice to our students.”
Feature Image Credits: Akangsha Chetri
Vaibhavi Sharma Pathak