JNU protest march: Cops lathicharge students marching towards Rashtrapati Bhavan
Heavy police deployment was in place ahead of the JNU students’ march towards Rashtrpati Bhavan in protest against the hostel fee hike.
Once again the police resorted to lathicharging the Jwaharlal Nehru University students on Monday when they tried to march towards Rashtrapati Bhawan against the proposed hostel fee hike. The marching students were stopped and baton charged near the Bhikaji Cama Place metro station in New Delhi.
The protesting students marched towards Rashtrapati Bhavan seeking an appointment with the President, the visitor of the varsity, to urge him to intervene and ensure that the hike in hostel fee is rolled back.
But as soon as the protesting students reached Bhikaji Cama Place metro station and tried to go beyond the police barricades, the police stopped them and baton charged them.
According to JNU Students Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh, "Several students, including women, have been detained by police which brutally attacked the protesters, asking us to go back to campus."
"We will not budge from here until our demands are met and a complete rollback in the fee is announced," she added.
"They first stopped and then attacked us while the march was going on peacefully. Over 30 students were injured. We will anyhow head to Rashtrapati Bhawan," Shreya Ghosh, one of the protesters claimed.
Traffic movement was slow at various intersections in South Delhi due to the march, prompting the traffic police to issue timely advisories for commuters.
"Due to the demonstration, the traffic movement is affected on the road leading to Dhaula Kuan from AIIMS. The commuters should avoid the route," the Delhi Traffic Police tweeted.
Traffic Alert— Delhi Traffic Police (@dtptraffic) December 9, 2019
धरना प्रदर्शन के कारण AIIMS से Dhaula Kuan की तरफ जाने वाला यातायात एक लेन में चल रहा हैI कृप्या इस मार्ग के प्रयोग से बचेंI
"The traffic movement on Africa Avenue was slow and the route from Bhikaji Cama Place is obstructed. Kindly avoid this stretch," the police said.
Earlier in the day, traffic movement was closed on Baba Gangnath Marg to Sarojni Nagar depot, Africa Avenue road, both carriageway of Sant Nagar depot and Hyatt to Leela Hotel due to the demonstration. Traffic was diverted from Leela Hotel towards INA.
According to police officials, heavy deployment of police was in place ahead of the march from the JNU and roads leading to the campus were shut for traffic and appeals made to students to protest peacefully.
Entry and exit points at Udyog Bhawan, Lok Kalyan Marg and Central Secretariat metro stations were closed for over four hours by authorities following directions from Delhi police. The stations reopened around 5:20 pm.
Yellow Line Update— Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (@OfficialDMRC) December 9, 2019
Entry & exit gates at all stations have been opened.
Normal services have resumed in all stations. https://t.co/GhcmqzLpic
"As advised by Delhi Police, entry & exit at Udyog Bhawan, Lok Kalyan Marg and Central Secretariat have been closed. Trains are not halting at Udyog Bhawan and Lok Kalyan Marg," the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said on Twitter.
The students have been protesting for over a month inside the campus against the hostel fee hike and have also called for boycott of the upcoming semester exams, despite appeals by the administration asking them to return to classes.
The HRD Ministry had set up a three-member committee to look into ways to restore normal functioning in the JNU and mediate between the agitating students and the administration.
The panel submitted its report to the ministry but no call has been taken yet.
The students' agitation over the hike in hostel fee escalated on November 11 when thousands of them clashed with police outside the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) premises, where the university's convocation was held.
Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank was stranded for over six hours at the venue.
The JNU's Executive Council had then announced a partial rollback of the hike for students belonging to the BPL category and not availing any scholarships. However, the protesters dubbed it an "eyewash".
A week later, students staged a march from the JNU campus to the HRD Ministry but were stopped at multiple locations and finally outside the Safdarjung Tomb by police. The police allegedly switched off street lights protesters alleged that the police baton-charged and manhandled them, including a blind student.
(With PTI inputs)