JNU's Umar Khalid Was To Speak At Delhi College. Then Protests Started.

Umar Khalid was supposed to speak at an event organised by Ramjas College students.

Highlights

  • Cops were called in as student group ABVP organised a protest
  • Umar Khalid talks of 'dividing the country,' said ABVP's Yogit Rathi
  • JNU students who came, held protests after the event was cancelled
New Delhi: Delhi's Ramjas College witnessed a huge uproar today after the police turned up to stop a protest that was in progress against JNU leader Umar Khalid. Mr Khalid -- who had been named in a sedition case a year ago along with Kanhaiya Kumar - was expected to speak an event organized by the college literature society. But the students had failed to inform the police, who are meant to be kept in the loop in such cases. The police came to know when the college alerted them about the plans for the protest.

The protest was being organised by the ABVP - the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a student group linked to the BJP -- which had opposed the event on Afzal Guru at the JNU, which had triggered the chain of events that led to the sedition case.

College president and ABVP member Yogit Rathi said, "Ramjas college cannot see the likes of Umar Khalid talking here. He talks of dividing the country. We were going to hold a silent protest against this and alerted the college principal about it."

The Ramjas College authorities said they had to cancel the seminar, titled "Culture of Protest" in view of security concerns. After the cancellation, students landed outside the literature department conference hall to protest. There was a clash between this group and the ABVP protestors, with both groups shouting slogans at each other. Yogit Rathi said, "We just wanted college administration to check their identity cards. They were not from our college."

As the police reached the venue, the students who had come from JNU to attend the event - many of them belonging to the Left students' union SFI - gathered at a conference hall and later held a march against the police and the college authorities.

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In a Facebook post, Mr Khalid, who had not reached the college when the protests started, said, "Now, Delhi Police tells the organisers (students and teachers of Ramjas College) that it will not protect me, or the organisers from any attack by ABVP. And according to the Delhi Police, organisers will be held responsible for any violence by ABVP. Wow! Such is the state of democracy in our country."

In a later post, he said, the ABVP students surrounded the seminar room and locked students and teachers inside.

Mr Khalid had been found guilty of indiscipline by the JNU in connection with the Afzhal Guru event, where anti-national slogans had been raised. As organisers of the event, Kanhaiya Kumar, Anirban Bhattacharya and Mr Khalid had got implicated in the matter. The High Court is hearing the case after an appeal by the students.

The university also issued a showcause to Mr Khalid and the others after the vice chancellor was allegedly kept confined overnight in his office during a protest over missing student Najib Ahmed.