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Students, teachers march to ‘save DU’ from ABVP, reclaim space to dissent

LiveMint logoLiveMint 28-02-2017 PTI

New Delhi: Hundreds of students and teachers of Delhi University (DU), Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Jamia Milia Islamia on Tuesday hit the streets with a call to “save” the varsities from the “onslaught” of Akhil Bharatiya Vidya Parishad (ABVP) and “curbing” of dissent.

The students held posters with messages like “Your nationalism is not above our democracy”. The protesters, mainly comprising students of left forums like All India Students Association (AISA), shouted slogans “ABVP Go Back” and “Azaadi” as the march made its way through the roads of North Campus towards the Arts Faculty building.

The gates of the colleges falling on the route of the march, which began from the gates of Khalsa College, were shut. “We are marching to reclaim the space to debate and discuss. It is about the freedom to coexist, yet disagree,” a student said.

There was heavy police deployment to prevent a rerun of the clashes that were witnessed between ABVP and AISA last week following cancellation of an event at Ramjas College after activists of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-backed students’ wing objected to the invitation to JNU student leaders Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid.

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. Earlier, Lady Shri Ram College student Gurmehar Kaur withdrew from her social media campaign against the ABVP after allegedly receiving threats from the members of the RSS-backed outfit and being trolled by the ruling BJP leaders and ministers.

On Monday, the ABVP had taken out a ‘Tiranga march’, “to save the nation”, from Ramjas College to the Arts Faculty.

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