The controversy behind the installation of the busts of VD Savarkar, Subhas Chandra Bose, and Bhagat Singh in North Campus escalated with protests, detentions and ultimate removal of the statues.
In a press release by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) today, the student outfit said that the Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) removed the busts of VD Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and Subhas Chandra Bose, which had been installed earlier this week, from the University premises.
It also said that the University administration has given assurance to the ABVP and the DUSU that after the students’ union elections – scheduled for 12th September – the busts will be re-installed as per the necessary procedure. According to the DUSU’s own admission, the busts had initially been installed overnight of their own will, as the administration had allegedly not responded to their requests for months.
Even though the ABVP is currently in power in the Union, the party had maintained that “the busts should be installed in the University of Delhi campus only with the permission of the Delhi University Administration and other concerned authorities.”
Before the removal of the busts, however, there had been demonstrations and protests by parties opposed to the ABVP. A signature campaign was held Friday by various student organisations, such as Parivartankami Chhatra Sangathan (Pachhas), Pinjra Tod Collective, Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS), Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and others. Sources told us that during the proceedings, the police took action and detained two Pachhas members: Deepak Gupta and Manish Gautam.
A statement made by Pachhas alleged that the police took the biodata of both detainees, who were also told that they would be charged under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. The statement then alleged that Deepak Gupta was taken into a separate room, where he was not allowed to sit and not given water. Mr Gupta also alleged that the police tried to “personally attack and humiliate me verbally.” Gupta’s father was allegedly called by the cops, however owing to “bad signal” the call could not be completed. “In a half-hour interrogation, the police tried to intimidate me just because we were peacefully protesting against Savarkar,” the statement further read.
The statement further alleged that during the interrogation, two members of the ABVP, who had been detained for some matter, came into the room. “The strict demeanour of the cops disappeared,” it said. It was also alleged that while Gupta had been made to stand for half an hour, the ABVP members were offered chairs to sit. The statement said that the protests meanwhile kept going at the Arts Faculty Gate. Following the “continued pressure, both members were released after three and a half hours.” However, Gupta says that while the police told them that they were being charged with Section 188, Gautam and he were not given any information about it as they had not received any calls regarding this yet.”
Speaking to DU Beat, Siddarth Yadav, State Secretary, ABVP Delhi, denied the veracity of this chain of proceedings. “It is a good story but none of it is true,” he said. However, he did not respond on time to our further questions regarding what the correct account of proceedings in his view was.
A statement released by ABVP said that the party “demands stringent legal action against those involved from the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) in insulting our freedom fighters” – in response to the NSUI Delhi President Akshay Lakra blackening the bust of Savarkar around 2-2:30 a.m. on 22nd August. “Student organisations associated with left ideology, CYSS and NSUI have stooped down to a very low level and have given a major blow to the culture of debate and discussion prevalent in the university,” it read, saying that the said organisations were “insulting freedom fighters to meet their trivial political interests.”
Akshay Lakra also released a statement which said: “NSUI never wanted to create any hooliganism or nuisance in the campus but we won’t tolerate infiltration of any type of fake nationalism.” He alleged that the “ABVP tried to divert the attention of students of [their] unsuccessful DUSU 2018 tenure including Ankiv Baisoya’s fake degree… this whole statue incident was an attempt to polarise and change the discourse of DUSU elections.”
Image Credits – Pachhas