University of Delhi (DU) students organised a protest in the Arts Faculty of the university on 16th November, in solidarity with Jamia Milia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University.
The Political Science department of the Delhi University (DU) decided to boycott today’s exam. In the protest, the crowd could be heard chanting slogans like, “Amit Shah, Istifa Do” and “DU Prashasan Murdabad”. But, as the protest grew, the police were called in. The protest shifted from the Social Science building’s entrance to down the stairs where the police then began to manhandle students.
Although the police tried to snatch away the phones of the people recording, videos of the police manhandling the students chanting these slogans surfaced online. In one video, the policemen were dragging the All India Students’ Association (AISA) Presidential Candidate for Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) 2018, Abhigyan, while the student away while the crowd was chanting.
The police constables were allegedly heard saying “10 minutes mein sabka kaam khatam, ABVP bulaye hai abhi. (everything will end in 10 minutes for we have called ABVP)”
Soon after, other members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) also arrived along with Akshit Dahiya, DUSU President. “Kitne bacchon ka paper hai… Sir aap inhe bahar karo na (so many kids are giving their exams. Please take these people outside),” said Akshit, referring to the protesters.
However, after the arrival of ABVP, the protesters got chased and beaten up by the ABVP members and the police. On multiple videos, the police could be seen manhandling and detaining the students. Bharat Sharma, State Executive Committee member of ABVP, and Sonal Sharma, Ankita Biswas, and Inderjeet Dagar, members of ABVP were caught on tape verbally and physically assaulting the student protestors.
“Akshit Dahiya arrived and ABVP goons started pouring in. Soon, it became complete chaos. Police and ABVP hitting the protestors. Those with the ‘dandas‘ are ABVP goons. Police lent them the batons. Many protestors were detained,” said Noihrit Gogoi, a student who got beaten up at the protest.
Another student present at the protest added, “I got hit on my face. Ten ABVP boys circled me and called me a terrorist and snatched my phone as I was making a video. Akshit Dahiya gave them orders to snatch my phone in front of me. Police were just watching and did nothing.”
Messages of students warning each other to stay away from the Arts Faculty were also circulated on Whatsapp. Meanwhile, the students of the University started sharing messages asking people to message Akshit Dahiya regarding his statement supporting the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). “Spread the word, guys. He has to take this statement down. And that can only happen when students across DU unite. Please text him and let him know that DU does not stand with CAA,” read one message.
“The Delhi University Students’ Union condemns the attack of the academic process of the university by student groups in a move of forcefully preventing students from appearing in examinations… When the affected students called the DUSU President for help, the DUSU President immediately reached the spot and asked the protesters to continue the protest but not force any student to either join or boycott the examination. This led to a clash which sustained injuries on DUSU office bearers and members,” said the DUSU, in its press release.
Akshit Dahiya added, “It is my duty to go out to help the students who are appearing for the exams if they are stopped from doing so. The students called me for help and when I went, I was attacked by them. They raised anti-national slogans in front of me. We can never let such things happen in DU. We reject any lockdown call for DU. We condemn the act of such violent perpetrators and such environment building cannot be tolerated.”
Saimon Farooqi, National Secretary, National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) said, “We conducted a very peaceful protest inside the university campus itself. The police mistreated us. Rocky Tuseed who was the DUSU President in 2017 was also manhandled… we were just fighting for our rights and exercising our rights. If these ABVP members are against our protest, it reflects their ideologies. And because they follow the footprints of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it reflects in those parties also.”
The police then took the protesters at the Arts Faculty to Jantar Mantar in their police bus for them to continue the protest at Jantar Mantar as the situation became too violent on the campus.
Featured Image Credits: Arsh Mehdi