Delhi

JNU students lathi-charged by police during march to Rashtrapati Bhavan

JNU students stage a protest by sitting down on Ring Road after the Delhi Police lathi-charged them, in New Delhi on December 9, 2019.

JNU students stage a protest by sitting down on Ring Road after the Delhi Police lathi-charged them, in New Delhi on December 9, 2019.  

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Heavy deployment of police was in place ahead of the JNU students’ march towards Rashtrapati Bhavan in protest against the hostel-fee hike.

The Delhi police on December 9 lathi-charged students from the Jawahrlal Nehru (JNU) University who were on a peaceful march from the University campus to Rashtrapati Bhavan to petition the President, who is also the visitor of the University, to roll back the hostel fee hike.

The rally, escorted by the police and paramilitary personnel, left the campus at 2 p.m. for Rashtrapati Bhavan and the police had set up barricades halfway at the Sarojini Nagar Bus Depot to prevent the march from moving towards Lutyen’s Delhi.

However, around 200 metres from the barricades at the Africa Avenue-Ring Road crossing, when a few students tried to turn right onto the Ring Road towards AIIMS, the police resorted to a lathicharge. Subsequently the students ran in multiple directions to the police action. They re-grouped on the road outside the Hyatt Hotel and staged a sit-in on the road, demanding that they be allowed to continue their march.

The dharna lasted over an hour after which the police allowed the students to continue their march. The students wanted to march via Moti Bagh towards Rashtrapati Bhavan but the police prevented them from doing so. When JNUSU president Aishi Ghosh climbed onto the bonnet of a police vehicle and started addressing the students, a woman constable picked her up and tried to remove her from the spot. This enraged the protesting students and the police resorted to a second lathi charge that lasted several minutes. Students were then dragged into police vehicles and detained. They were later dropped back on campus.

Several students were injured in the melee and after the incident, students took to social media to show the extent of their injuries. The protest against the fee hike has been going on now for 46 days. The students have demanded that the report prepared after speaking to all stakeholders by the high-power committee set up by the Ministry of Human Resource Development be made public so that normalcy may return to the university. The students in a resolution passed in a University general body meeting resolved to boycott all academic activity, including examinations. The University administration have warned students that their names would be struck off the rolls if they fail to meet the academic deadlines of the semester.

In a press note on December 9, the JNU administration said that it has been open to dialogue and discussion with all stakeholders and alleged that a “false narrative” is being spread that the administration is refusing to hold dialogue with student representatives. It added that it was deplorable that agitators have continued to occupy the administrative building and have prevented the normal functioning of the University.

JNUTA

The JNU Teachers’ association also wrote a letter to the President appealing to him to end the crisis at the University by removing vice-chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar from his post. The JNUTA also condemned the “repeated acts of police brutality against peacefully protesting students.

Traffic jams

The protest caused a massive traffic jam on Ring Road and several commuters using the metro also were left stranded as entry and exit points at Udyog Bhawan, Lok Kalyan Marg and Central Secretariat metro stations were closed for over four hours by authorities following directions from the Delhi police. The stations reopened around 5:20 p.m. The Delhi Police asked commuters to avoid taking the Ring Road from AIIMS to Dhaula Kuan as well as Africa Avenue.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2020 1:53:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/jnu-students-lathi-charged-by-police-during-march-to-rashtrapati-bhavan/article30251755.ece

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