Updated: June 18, 2020 2:57:12 pm
On Monday, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had said that the “common students” of Delhi University (DU) would wholeheartedly oppose the entry of “Communists” on campus. Yet on Tuesday, it was the common students whose presence was felt the most as thousands from across party lines shouted slogans of ‘ABVP go back’ during the ‘DU Against Gundagardi March’, which saw over 2,000 protesters and around 800 policemen.
Students from across universities and colleges — from Miranda House to JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia to Ambedkar University — took part in the protest, which also saw huge support for their fellow student Gurmehar Kaur.
Prashant Mukherjee from SFI said, “This march is against the attack by ABVP-RSS and it will continue when we march to Parliament on March 4. This is not a fight of Left vs Right, but of the entire university and the presence of common students here today has proved that.”
There were more than a few tense moments as students and teachers, surrounded on all sides by hundreds of police personnel, walked from SGTB Khalsa College to the Arts Faculty. JNU student Umar Khalid, however, was conspicuous by his absence.
Several politicians, including Sitaram Yechury, Yogendra Yadav, Pankaj Pushkar, D Raja and K C Tyagi addressed students at the Arts Faculty, as did former JNUSU president Kanhaiya Kumar.
However, it was the presence of first-time protesters — and not seasoned activists — which took many by surprise. Most spoke out against “gundagardi” on campus.
Adira Srinivasan, a student of political science at Ramjas College, said she didn’t subscribe to any ideology but strongly felt that there should be enough space to discuss and debate. “As a debating club member, it bothers me that we can’t discuss such topics anymore without it leading to violence. My participation in the march is just against that,” she said. Sreshtha Bhattacharya, a student of sociology at Miranda House, said, “I have come here because I believe in debate and discussion, and I think that should be retained at any cost.”
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