Ramjas College row: Teachers' association president says 'lawlessness' encouraged by govt

Nandita Narain, a professor at St Stephen's College Mathematics Department, spoke on Tuesday about the horrors she witnessed at the police station on the second day of the Ramjas College clashes. Nandita claimed to have been present when one of the students got being beaten up by a boy while the police stood by as spectators, with no intention to intervene.

She alleged that after she had left the station, the police apparently joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) in beating up the students.

 Ramjas College row: Teachers association president says lawlessness encouraged by govt

Students clash with police at Ramjas College in Delhi. File photo. PTI

"At least 60 students from St Stephen's College were also caught who were also there. They came back injured and we had to get them first aid at night. The police behaved in a criminal manner with the students, particularly the women," said Nandita.

When asked what message she gleaned from the protests, Nandita replied that the law of the land and the constitution needed to be followed.

"There is the government which itself is encouraging complete lawlessness and allowing their own students to actually bash up people whom they don't agree with, to keep them quiet. And that is not acceptable in a democracy and it is not acceptable in a university where different ideas are exchanged, differences are expressed, critiqued, and independent thinking is developed," said Nandita.

She added, "So while you may place your position very clearly, you can have a protest. You cannot take the law into your hands and bash up the other people, break windows, vandalise to keep people quiet. They cannot dictate terms. So, action must be taken against all those who have committed a murderous assault against students and teachers."

"These people have been doing it more and more boldly over the last one-and-a-half years. They beat up a teacher in Shri Ram College of Commerce(SRCC). Then they beat up, humiliated the Dean of the Faculty of Law and vandalised his office. Then they attacked me and broke the mirrors of my Delhi University Teachers' Association (DUTA) office."

The DUTA president also accused the vice-chancellor and police of refusing to take action against those responsible.

Nandita compared the ABVP actions to a child gone astray. She said that senior leaders of BJP and the government were to be held culpable.

She said, "In such a situation the child will become anti-social or a criminal or a terrorist. Parent has to be blamed. So it is the senior leaders of the BJP and the government who have to be blamed for creating this monster which they will not be able to control."

In a resolution adopted by the Delhi University Teachers' Association's  Executive on 23 February, 2017 the teachers' body expressed shock and dismay over the 'brutal violence' witnessed at Ramjas College and in the University campus on 21 and 22 February. The teachers' body condemned the role of ABVP in the violent clashes accusing it of resorting to 'mob violence'. The resolution also stated that DUTA held the university administration equally culpable.

"Allowing mobsters and anti-social elements to get away with impunity has emboldened them (ABVP) and the DUTA office-bearers themselves were at the receiving end of their physical aggression during a demonstration concerning Daulat Ram College in July 2016,” said DUTA president Nandita Narain.

DUTA categorically demanded that vice-chancellor set up an enquiry against the perpetrators of the violence meted out to students and teachers and press upon the police to initiate due process of investigation.

DUTA secretary Sandeep said the DUTA also expressed solidarity with the Dean of the Faculty of Law and demanded that those responsible for physically abusing her be punished.

Ramjas College had last week witnessed large-scale violence between members of the All India Students' Association (AISA) and the ABVP. The genesis of the clash was an invite to JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid to address a seminar on 'Culture of Protests', which was withdrawn by the college authorities following opposition by ABVP.

Resolution Adopted by the Delhi University Teachers' Association's Executive on 23 February by Firstpost on Scribd

To listen to St Stephen's professor speak.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Feb 28, 2017 18:15:48 IST