Thma U Rangli-Juki (TUR), a progressive people’s group from Meghalaya, strongly condemns the brutal attack on students and teachers of Delhi University on the 21st and 22nd of February 2017 at Ramjas College by the ABVP. What must not be misunderstood is the dynamics of the politics of the situation and it is worthy to note that the festival which triggered the entire episode, titled “Cultures of Protest”, was organised by the English Department and literary society and not any political organization whatsoever, counter to the narrative woven by mainstream media, portraying the entire incident as a battle between AISA and ABVP. Some of us from TUR were there as witnesses to this attack by the Hindutva stormtroopers.
It started out as a protest by regular DU students, with many protesters having no political affiliation, against a machinery and force that is suppressing their right to speech, thought, expression and dissent. The aggressive and violent behavior of the ABVP members was an undemocratic and complete abuse of power, evident with the passive attitude of the police who were more so bystanders at the scene. Reportedly, inside Ramjas College, protesting students were surrounded by ABVP personnel and were not allowed to leave the college, thus were reduced to hostages in their own campus.
The physical assault on a number of people was indiscriminate, as even parents were also victims, apart from students and professors. Accompanying the physical violence were verbal abuses coloured with threats of rape, death and countless profanities. These were all chilling indicators of the kind of violence that the ABVP are capable of, one clearly legitimized by the State apparatus, especially, when the police unleashed lathi charge on the protesting students instead, who were demanding FIRs to filed against ABVP. What really happened was a complete violation of democratic ethics and free speech entrenched within the foundation of educational spaces, let alone the so called ‘great Indian democracy’.
TUR stands in solidarity with all the fearless students and professors of Delhi University in their struggle to reclaim freedom of thought and expression not just within educational spaces, but beyond