Gurmehar gets police protection but DU is calm
Delhi University was calm on Wednesday, a day after thousands of students protested against the ABVP, even as student Gurmehar Kaur, facing rape and death threats, got police security at her hometown Jalandhar in Punjab.
After two Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists were arrested here overnight for attacking two leftwing students, about 50 ABVP members demonstrated outside the Delhi Police headquarters on Wednesday.
The RSS-affiliated student body demanded action against the students it said had raised “anti-national slogans” at the Jawaharlal Nehru University a year ago but have never been caught.
“After creating commotion in JNU, these anti-national sloganeers have moved to Delhi University,” ABVP media convenor Saket Bahuguna said.
The Delhi university campus was peaceful but a large number of police personnel remained deployed outside various colleges. Guards checked the identity cards of the students.
On Tuesday night, ABVP members Vinayak Sharma and Prashant Mishra were arrested for beating up two AISA members near the Khalsa College, several hours after a massive student protest against the ABVP in the campus.
The ABVP suspended both but said they were provoked by the Left-leaning All India Students Association (AISA).
“We will not tolerate violence in the DU campus. We wish to restore peace in the university,” an ABVP leader told IANS.
Trouble erupted in the otherwise placid Delhi University campus on February 21 when the ABVP forced the cancellation of a seminar at Ramjas College over the participation of a controversial JNU student.
The next day, ABVP activists were blamed for attacking students, teachers and journalists in the campus, triggering widespread condemnation.
Lady Shri Ram College student Gurmehar Kaur then launched a social media campaign against the ABVP, only to face death and rape threats. On Tuesday she left Delhi for Punjab, saying she was pulling out of the campaign.
While her college teachers, fellow students and family have stood by her, she did not speak to the media on Wednesday at Jalandhar, where the Punjab Police deployed two women constables for her protection.
At Ramjas College, a student who did not want to be named told IANS that the unprecedented violence in the campus had disturbed everyone.
“The whole of last week has been disturbed. This is going to affect our studies,” the B.A. Third Year student said.
“The guards are not allowing anyone inside the campus before 9 a.m. They are checking all identity cards,” she said.
Meanwhile, cricketer Gautam Gambhir voiced support for Kaur, saying mocking or ganging up against the 20-year-old for her views on the horrors of war was despicable.
“We live in a free country where everyone is entitled to their opinion,” he said in a video message. “If a daughter who lost her father puts up posts about the horrors of war, she has all the right.”
Former cricketer Virender Sehwag clarified that his response to Kaur on the social media was an attempt to be facetious. He said he did not mean to bully her.
“Agreement or disagreement wasn’t even a factor,” he said. “She has a right to express her views and anyone who threatens her with violence or rape is the lowest form of life.”
But Sehwag’s tweet did not prevent Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij from taking on the young student.
He said Kaur was doing politics over the “martyrdom of her father” and accused her of giving Pakistan “a clean chit”.
On Tuesday, Delhi’s Lt Governor Anil Baijal promised speedy action against those who indulged in violence in Delhi University and those who threatened Kaur.