Déjà vu? Police crackdown in FTII is nothing new in India
For a country flaunting itself as the world's largest democracy and, every now and then, a baron of free speech, police crackdown on students is not a novelty.
In a post-midnight swoop, Maharashtra police arrested five students of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) from the campus for rioting, damaging properties and other charges.
The arrests came after a group of striking students confined FTII Director Prashant Pathrabe and other staffers in his office for eight hours, and vandalised office furniture and fittings on Monday.
The students were subsequently sent to judicial custody for 14 days.
The police crackdown caps the 72-day old agitation in which a section of the students are opposing the appointment of BJP member and TV actor Gajendra Chauhan as FTII chairman.
But for a country flaunting itself as the world's largest democracy, police crackdown on students is not a novelty.
- Jadavpur University
In September, 2014 The Jadavpur University Vice Chancellor and Registrar, who were gheraoed by students demanding a fresh probe panel on alleged sexual harassment of a girl student inside the campus, was freed in the by a strong contingent of police force which arrested 35 students.
The protests followed an incident that took place late in October, when a girl from the humanities faculty of the college was reportedly dragged to the boys' hostel on the campus after a fest and was allegedly molested by ten men. The girl lodged a complaint with the university authorities, but no arrests were made and no action was taken.
- Regional College of Management Autonomous students
On 23 April, 2014 agitating students of Regional College of Management Autonomous (RCM) clashed with police when they were prevented them from protesting in front of Raj Bhawan. The students had gheraoed Governor's House demanding original registration cards and degree certificates, denied to them by the college authorities, reported the Times of India.
The college was granted autonomous status by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) in 2009 but it was not renewed the year after. Nonetheless, the college continued to admit students without the affiliation.
Six days later, on 29 April, several students of the college, including 10 girls, sustained grievous injuries after police lathicharged them late night at Lower PMG in Bhubaneswar.
Sources said the students were staging a peaceful protest when police arrived and brutally assaulted the them. Around 25 students, who were injured were admitted in Capital Hospital. The condition of some of them was stated to be critical, according to a New Indian Express report.
- Students’ Federation of India - Himachal Pradesh
In March 2015, Students’ Federation of India (SFI) activists, clashed with the police outside Himachal Pradesh Vidhan Sabha. The activists, including SFI state president Puneet Dhanta, were arrested on charges of rioting and lawlessness. They were protesting against decisions, including a fee hike, taken by the Himachal Pradesh University and the state government, reports the Indian Express.
Even outside the prison, SFI activists who were part of the protest alleged that they were beaten up and tortured. Even the injured students were dragged from hospital and taken to the Boileauganj police station where they were tortured throughout the night, an SFI release said.
- Students’ Federation of India - West Bengal
In April, 2013, leaders and members of Students’ Federation of India (SFI) were lathicharged and rounded up during a protest against Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision to call off college union elections in West Bengal.
A student leader belonging to student wing of CPI-M later succumbed to his injuries that he sustained while in police custody in Kolkata, reports Bhaskar.
- Student unions - Chennai
In September, 2002, hundreds of students and riot police clashed after the protest turned violent in Chennai following protests by student unions and organisations, against the move to convert government colleges into constituents of universities, leaving several on both sides injured.
Student organisations said hundreds of students who boycotted classes Statewide were detained, reports the Hindu.
With inputs from PTI and IANS.
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