Several hundred students and teachers of Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Milia took the streets of North Campus protesting against the violent scuffle at Ramjas College last week. The protest march, which strongly criticised the RSS-backed student outfit ABVP, also sought to safeguard freedom of speech and right to dissent.
Holding posters, banners, reciting couplets, singing and even holding tricolour, the students started their march from the gates of Khalsa College Tuesday afternoon.
Recently a dramatics and literature event was cancelled by the authorities in Khalsa College apprehending trouble after ABVP demanded that scripts to be used in the performance event should be reviewed.
The protesters, comprising students of Left-backed AISA and SFI, also got a support from Congress’ NSUI and AAP’s student outfit YCSS. Even former AAP member and sociologist Yogendra Yadav’s Swaraj India joined in the march. Several politicians belonging to the Left parties too joined in the fray.
“We are marching to reclaim the space to debate and discuss. It is about the freedom to coexist, yet disagree,” a student said.
One of the faculty members, marching with the students, alleged that the university has been “taken over” and that authorities were not acting to prevent it as she stressed on the “reclaim your space” theme of the protest.
Amid heavy police bandobast, the students and teachers marched through the streets of Delhi University crossing Miranda House College, SRCC and even Ramjas College before culminating in the Arts Faculty building.
The sea of students and teachers then converged at the Art faculty’s Vivekananda statue, which has long been a symbol of ABVP’s ideology.
Prior to this march, on Monday, the ABVP had taken out ‘Tiranga march’ from Ramjas College to the Arts Faculty, where they took a veiled dig at the opponents referring to the incidents at campus last week.
Clashes had broken last week outside Ramjas College in North Campus of Delhi University between the RSS-backed ABVP and Left-bakced AISA over the seminar invite to JNU student Umar Khalid and former JNU Student’s Union leader Shehla Rashid. ABVP was raising protest demanding the cancellation of invite to both the students.