Protesting JNU students and Delhi police turn into two hostile camps
About 100 students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University have been detained on Monday when they were protesting against the proposed fee-hike and hostel manual of the varsity. Some critically injured students were rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The students union had called for the march earlier today to the parliament to raise their concern to the parliamentarians. The winter session of the parliament has begun today itself. The protest going on for 22 days have now turned into two hostile camps: the students alleged that the police had thrashed some of them, and the police said that they had no issue with the students and they have to maintain law and order.
JNSU President Aishe Ghosh was also beaten-up along with many others. She alleged that women protestors were manhandled and male police forcibly detained them. She said, "we understand that law and order must be maintained, but it is the Vice-Chancellor Mr Jagadesh Kumar who has destroyed law and order in the university."
"We could have stopped protesting much earlier, had the administration, not eye washed us with a token reduction in the proposed fee-hike," said a student from School of Life Sciences of the varsity. "The government wants to privatise the education and we want it to be free for all," he added.
"Leave aside a left space, the government does not even want a liberal space to exist. JNU is being targeted on an ideological level," said Rashi pursuing MPhil at Centre for Law and Governance at the varsity.
Earlier, the Delhi police had barricaded the roads at various places to stop agitating students marching peacefully. Crossing the barricades, thousands of students reached near Lodhi road in front of Safdarjung tomb where the police finally succeeded in stopping them. The students sat on the road till late evening and continued raising slogans and singing songs.
The police said that a student delegation comprising leaders the union can meet the officials of the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) and call-off the sit-in at the road in front of Safdarjung Madarasa.
Earlier, MHRD appointed a three-member committee to recommend ways to restore normal functioning of the JNU which has been witnessing protests over many issues including a proposed dress code and curfew timings in the hostel. The Delhi police took Aishe Ghosh and other students representatives to the MHRD.
Many students said that the Delhi police were tricking them to go back to the campus and the talk to the MHRD officials was merely an excuse for the same. The top police official threatened the students of police action if they did not move back. The students said that the police was doing the same since morning that is resorting to lathi-charge and thrashing them.
Some travellers who faced difficulties to commute due to protests said though they faced difficulty in travelling, they did not want education to be so costly that students from the poorer sections of the society cannot afford it. Others questioned the existence of the varsity and said why is it so that every time it is the JNU students who wreak havoc.
As the day closed, the police pushed the students away from the protest site by resorting to lathi-charge once again after switching off the street light and cleared the road. The JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) has expressed their solidarity with the students and raised its concern over the current situation on the campus. The detained students were later released. Despite several attempts, the vice-chancellor refused to comment on the issue.