Delhi

Cops halt mass JNU protest; many hurt in the melee

The JNUTA and JNUSU had called for a march from the university campus to Parliament Street to protest against issues.

The JNUTA and JNUSU had called for a march from the university campus to Parliament Street to protest against issues.  

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Police resort to lathi charge, use of water cannons; ‘41 cops injured’

A clash erupted between the police and JNU students near INA market when the police tried to contain the “long march” that was headed to Parliament Street on Friday. The police resorted to lathi charge and use of water canons, leaving several students injured.

The JNU Teachers’ Association and the JNU Students’ Union had called for a march from the campus to Parliament Street in protest against various issues, including privatisation of education and demanding suspension of Professor Atul Johri who has been accused of sexual harassment.

Police spokesperson Dependra Pathak said, “Permission for the protest march was denied but the students started the march at 3.30 p.m. They were requested to stop near INA market but they turned violent, broke barricades and assaulted policemen. Forty-one policemen were hurt in the commotion. Finally, water cannons were used to control the crowd.”

Students detained

The police detained 23 students around 6.30 p.m., following which the protesters refused to leave the area. The detainees were later released and the students dispersed around 9.30 p.m., the police said. The march also witnessed participation of students from Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia.

JNU students accused the police of resorting to lathi charge despite lack of provocation. “As soon as we reached Laxminai Nagar, the police stopped us. We had informed them about the march beforehand,” said JNU student N. Sai Balaji.

Speaking against the recent autonomy awarded to JNU by the Centre, JNUSU president Geeta Kumari said, “Students from various universities have come here for the sake of education since not everyone can afford private education. The police have attacked the students with lathis. However, we won’t let them stop us.”

JNUTA president Sonajharia Minz said, “You have given an example of what a peaceful protest is. We took out this march to educate those who have an allergy to JNU. Through our slogans you have conveyed that it is the same for both the president’s child and the peon’s child until autonomy is not imposed.”

Several politicians were also present at the protest.

CPI leader Brinda Karat said, “The Vice-Chancellor has been disgracing the university in front of society by supporting a serial offender. While the V-C is seen with him, the students are here on the streets. The V-C has become a chancellor of vices. ”

RJD spokesperson Manoj Jha said, “It looks like the country is being taken back to medieval times as only selective people can be educated once privatisation steps in. Looks like the government’s new mantra is ‘Sabka Saath, Kuch Ka Vikaas’.”

‘Scribes manhandled’

Meanwhile, several journalists alleged they were manhandled by the police during the clash. A photojournalist with a national daily claimed her camera was snatched by the police. “Despite telling the policeman multiple times that I am a journalist, he kept pushing me away. Later, he touched me inappropriately under the guise of trying to clear the crowd,” she said.

On journalists being manhandled, Mr. Pathak said, “In law and order situations, it is difficult to differentiate between protesters and journalists. However, the matter is being looked into.”

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 12:57:41 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/cops-halt-mass-jnu-protest-many-hurt-in-the-melee/article23337651.ece

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