The ongoing turmoil in Delhi University’s Ramjas College is not just limited to the college anymore it seems. After members of ABVP protested against a seminar in Ramjas college which later led to violent clashes that rocked the entire North Campus area, another prominent institution, Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College (SGTB), finds itself in the eye of the storm. A street play competition scheduled to be held on Thursday, was cancelled fearing ABVP backlash.

The college authorities postponed the event keeping in mind the security of students after being advised by the police officials. However, the college’s faculty member who was in-charge of the event said it was done at the behest of ABVP’s ‘veiled threat.’

This is the notification which they put on their Facebook page:

Saikat Ghosh, staff advisor of Ankur, theatre society of Khalsa College told ScoopWhoop News that ABVP activists had issues with some of the street plays of college teams which were participating.

“Out of the total nine teams which were participating, four of them had had ‘objectionable content’. Basically, these plays questioned Sangh Parivar’s idea of nationalism and patriotism,” Ghosh said.

ABVP workers on rampage:

“The DUSU president called up our Principal and said that as these plays have anti-national content, they won’t be able to guarantee the security of the students. It was like an open threat. We thought that ensuring safety and security inside the college is paramount and thus the event was called off,” he added saying that the event might not be held this year. 

In the year 2015, ABVP also protested against Ankur’s street play production named ‘Welcome to the machine’. 

“The play was themed on the usage of violence in politics to divide and polarise the society. It had bits which questioned Sangh outfits as well as other political parties,” Ghosh said.

The complaint letter in 2015:

Ghosh added that there have always been ideological battles in the past since ABVP isn’t new to the university. “Even our Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was once a DUSU president from ABVP. But over last year few years, things have been changing for the worst,” he lamented adding that no action was taken against ABVP by the university officials.

Despite repeated attempts, no student from the dramatics team Ankur was willing to talk on the issue.

The whole Ramjas ruckus was instigated because ABVP had serious issues with JNU students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid being invited in a seminar. The ABVP members protested against it leading to violent clashes between them and members of left-wing All India Students Association (AISA) inside the campus. ABVP has been accused of vandalising property and physically attacking not just AISA members but also teachers and other students.

b’The confrontation between activists from both groups.’

However, there have been similar instances in the past.   

In the past few years since ABVP rose to power, Delhi University has witnessed several controversies which were triggered by the RSS’s student body. They have hijacked film screenings, seminars and protests held in the university.

In September 2016, JNU professor Dr Chaman Lal was invited to Delhi University to talk on writings of Bhagat Singh. Before that event, AISA also was supposed to perform a play titled JNU Ka Sach at the same venue. However, ABVP members barged in saying that they won’t allow it.

“I asked them to sit down and watch it. I told them you cannot insult an event which was in remembrance of Bhagat Singh,” Lal told ScoopWhoop News.

ABVP attacks peaceful protestors during Ramjas ruckus:

“They did try to disrupt the event by shouting slogans but the event wasn’t called off. We, in a way, overpowered them,” he added, saying that police officials did nothing to stop them.

In July 2016, during a protest outside Daulat Ram college, they manhandled and abused teachers from Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA).

“We were protesting against the crumbling infrastructure of the institute. But then members of ABVP hijacked the event and shouted slogans against us. Some of us were also manhandled,” DUTA President Nandita Narain told ScoopWhoop News. 

Narain maintained that the protest was absolutely non-political and she raising her voice for general student issues. She said she was only targeted for her left-leanings.

b’A representational image | Source: PTI’

“No action was taken against any ABVP member. On the other hand, an FIR was filed against me and my colleague in which it was accused that we were shouting pro-Pakistan slogans,” she added. 

In August 2015, ABVP activists also created a ruckus in Kirori Mal college during the screening of Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai, a documentary on 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots in Uttar Pradesh. 

“We asked them (ABVP) to sit down with us and watch the film. But they didn’t. None of them had actually watched the film. However, they said that the film was ‘anti-Hindu’ and hurt their sentiments. They wanted us to stop the event,” Dhananjay R Kapse, Assistant Professor, English Department who was the convenor of the film screening society.

ABVP workers storming the film screening:

He added that the ABVP members (whom he calls as Akhil Bharatiya ‘Vandalism/Violence’ Parishad) even threatened Professor Keval Arora, a renowned teacher of the English Department who is the Staff Advisor to the college’s drama society.

The screening was called off. However, according to Kapse, most of the students in the audience who were watching the film found nothing objectionable. No FIR was filed. 

“What happened then is nothing in comparison to whatever is happening now in Ramjas. We are living in fascist times where freedom to argue and defend has been threatened.” 

(Feature image source: PTI)

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