Violence a naysay in DU campus politics

Police lathi-charging ABVP members when the election results were announced in 2012. FILE PHOTO: RAJEEV BHATT   | Photo Credit: Rajeev Bhatt

Last year, the first day of campaigning for the Delhi University Students’ Union elections began on a violent note. Arch rivals the National Students’ Union of India and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad clashed with each other for campaigning space in front of a college gate. The year before that, ABVP members were lathi-charged by the Delhi Police and then chased all over the North Campus before being bundled into police vans.

They had alleged foul-play when results for the DUSU were declared and the situation had gotten out of hand as some activists went on the rampage, breaking police barricades and smashing gates.

But ever since, all the parties on the campus have been taking precautions to reduce such face-offs. On a day when the Supreme Court came down hard on violence on the campus in a case pertaining to Shimla, student leaders in Delhi said the situation here has improved significantly.

“We take every precaution, all our younger activists are told not to indulge in violence and to not be provoked. However, sometimes, when things become unfair, the situation gets out of hand. These incidents should not lead to the end of student activism. The authorities say that student power is “nuisance power”, but it is national power. There are many issues crucial to students which would never be resolved if organisations like us do not take to the streets,” said ABVP State secretary Rohit Chahal.

Its rivals, the NSUI, in fact, insisted that whenever there are incidents of violence that are perpetuated by either side, it is usually the State secretary or the president who is held responsible.

“There are some clashes between students, it cannot be helped at times but even when this happens, someone is always held responsible. We have clear guidelines to not tolerate violence and we have taken action against our own people. The State secretary and president in one State were suspended sometime ago when their activists surrounded the vice-chancellor’s office and threw copies of some memorandum at him. We try to keep out such elements as much as possible and if the leadership fails to keep out the violence, then they are held responsible and action is taken against them,” said NSUI vice-president Roji John.

Another student organisation, the All-India Students’ Association is also sometimes caught in the cross-fire, as they have emerged as a third front and are now slowly gaining ground in the union elections.

“The elections used to be controlled by Delhi’s politicians and that was why they were more violent but with stricter regulation through implementation of the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations that curb the number of times a candidate can contest and puts a budget restraint, the situation has improved,” said Sunny Kumar of the AISA.

The campus violence has also reduced drastically because of this and several other reasons, he said.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 12:50:09 PM |

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