“Cultures of Protest”, a two-day long seminar organised by Delhi University’s Ramjas College, had to be cancelled after members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad protested against the participation of Jawaharlal Nehru University students, Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid Shora.
Khalid, who was at the helm of the “nationalism” controversy erupting out of JNU last year, had been invited to speak on Tuesday.
The police had allegedly warned the organisers that they would not be able to provide protection to those attending the seminar, in light of protests by the student party.
Speaking to The Quint, Khalid said he was on his way to Delhi University when he received a call from the organisers.
The organisers said they wanted me to come, but Delhi Police had simply refused to give me any protection.They said that if I still come, the organisers will be responsible for all the violence that will follow.
Following this, Khalid’s segment at the seminar was cancelled.
The protesters, some of them identified as members of the ABVP, reportedly blocked the entrance to the conference hall, where the seminar was supposed to begin at 1:30 pm.
President of Delhi University Students’ Union and also an ABVP member, Amit Tanwar, maintained that no member of the party had been involved in any violence or that they had gathered at the college in large numbers.
Our members had gone to the principal yesterday [Monday] to complain about Umar Khalid’s participation and the principal said the programme had been cancelled.Amit Tanwar to Scroll.in
Claiming that the programme was being conducted without permission, Tanwar said the party had conducted a “silent march”.
Debalin Roy, a student of journalism at Jamia University, who was present at the conference, said the students could not enter the building until almost 4pm.
When the organisers attempted to carry on the seminar without Khalid, the protests turned violent. Stones were allegedly pelted at the conference room soon after the seminar began, shattering the window panes.
The attendees were then reportedly cordoned off inside the building.
Police later provided a safe passage to students and teachers. They exited amid chants of “naxalwadi bhag jao”, reported Scroll.in.
There’s still no clarity as to whether the college will carry on with its schedule for Wednesday’s events.
Video Editor and Producer: Prashant Bhardwaj
Video shot by: Debalin Roy and Piyush Nagpal