The Delhi Police on Tuesday registered two first information reports in connection with the march that Jawaharlal Nehru University students held the day before in protest against the university administration’s recent hostel fee hike proposals, ANI reported. Students from a number of other colleges and universities also participated in the demonstrations.
One FIR has been registered against unknown protestors for violating prohibitory orders, obstructing police officers from discharging duties, and causing hurt, according to India Today. The second FIR has been filed for the alleged damage caused to public property at Aurobindo Marg in South Delhi. According to the police, almost 30 police personnel and 15 students were injured during the eight-hour protest. The police had detained almost 100 demonstrators.
The FIRs were lodged even as the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union requested the Ministry of Human Resource Development not to initiate administrative action against students, PTI reported. “Students have been getting notices through e-mail for these protests,” said JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh. “But these protests are for a just cause and no student will pay even a single-rupee fine.”
Meanwhile, the students’ union leaders have accused the registrar of refusing to meet with the members of a panel set up by the government to defuse tensions and resolve the crisis, PTI reported. “See their high-handedness,” said Ghosh. “When they can refuse to entertain government representatives, how can they be expected to talk to us?” The strike will continue till the feek hike is completely rolled back, she added. The university’s executive council had partially reversed the fee increases on Wednesday.
Uproar in Parliament
Meanwhile, Opposition members in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on Tuesday accused the government of using force to suppress the voice of students. Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy, Congress leader TN Prathapan, and Bahujan Samaj Party MP Danish Ali raised the matter during Zero Hour.
Roy said the proposed fee hike should be rolled back as poor students would find it difficult to pay the revised amount. He said the use of force on students during the protest march was “unfortunate”.
Prathapan said the government was undemocratically suppressing the students’ voice and ruining higher education institutions. Ali demanded a probe into the students’ accusations of police of beating them with batons and sought an apology from the government.
In the Rajya Sabha, Aam Aadmi Party MP Sanjay Singh alleged that it was for the first time that students of the university were “beaten mercilessly” for raising genuine demands. “It is the same Delhi Police that was complaining that their uniform was tainted after they were assaulted by lawyers,” he said. “Does beating innocent students, including a visually challenged one, not taint their uniform?”
Communist Party of India General Secretary D Raja said the use of police force on the students was barbaric and unprecedented. “The Modi government and the JNU administration should understand that the students are not only fighting for themselves but also for the future of their community,” Raja said.
Meanwhile, Union Minister Giriraj Singh alleged that some people wanted to turn JNU into a centre of “urban Naxalism”.
The students have been protesting for nearly three weeks against a draft hostel manual, which also has provisions for a dress code and curfew timings.
On Monday, hundreds of students were stopped from marching towards Parliament. The protestors broke barricades even as a heavy contingent of police personnel was deployed outside the campus to contain the situation.
The protestors accused the police of beating them with batons near Safdarjung Tomb. However, the Delhi Police dismissed the allegation, saying the students were not assaulted with batons. Water cannons and tear gas shells were also not used, the police pointed out, commending its personnel for acting with restraint “despite continued defiance by some groups of students”.
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