Rape Threats & Iron Rod Assaults: Notes from ABVP’s Ramjas Rampage


Students stage a demonstration against ABVP outside Ramjas College in New Delhi on 22 February 2017. (Photo: IANS)
Students stage a demonstration against ABVP outside Ramjas College in New Delhi on 22 February 2017. (Photo: IANS)

Rape Threats & Iron Rod Assaults: Notes from ABVP’s Ramjas Rampage

I took part in the protest on 22 February at Ramjas College, not as a member of AISA or SFI, or someone with political affiliations or a ‘hidden agenda’. But merely to stand up against these goons who disrupted a seminar and held my friends hostage inside Ramjas College.

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Bruised Nose, Broken Spectacles

I reached Ramjas at 1:05 pm but was not allowed to enter. A bunch of us then gathered across the road. Our friends inside were stuck and could not come out to take part in the march. They were cordoned off by Delhi Police, which was doing absolutely nothing to stop the ABVP goons beating up the students inside.

Soon afterwards, we held up posters and began shouting slogans. Fifteen minutes into that, an ABVP mob appeared from behind and dragged away a boy who was protesting with us. The goons, about six of them, flung him on top of a motorcycle and started beating him us.

As they kicked and hit him, he could do absolutely nothing. The image will be etched in my memory for a while: it was heart-wrenching to see his wounded face, bruised nose and broken spectacles.

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Girls Threatened With Rape

This just set the tone for what was to follow. The ABVP obviously cannot tolerate debates or discussion because they are not capable of doing so. Hence, they use their fists. Women ABVP members (some of them viler than the men) were dragging girls, pulling their hair and breaking cameras.

I was holding a placard which said, “Long Live Freedom of Speech”, and accidentally came face-to-face with an ABVP mob. I was threatened, and told to get it out of their faces or else I would also be thrashed.

The same people who act like rabid dogs when they hear or see the slogans “Long Live Freedom of Speech”, “Azaadi and “Inquilab Zindabad”, have the audacity to call us desh drohis.

None of us – me, others at the protest or anyone from Ramjas – needs to prove his or her patriotism to these animals, some of whom also happen to be office-bearers of the Delhi University Students Union.

Also Read: Ramjas Not Alone, ABVP Has a Legacy of Violence and Vandalism

The police’s actions were so ineffective that the ABVP members got on top of police buses and abused protesters. (Photo: Revathi Krishnan)
The police’s actions were so ineffective that the ABVP members got on top of police buses and abused protesters. (Photo: Revathi Krishnan)

Police Acted Like Silent Spectators

My love for this country doesn't have to be shoved into people’s faces. I have a far greater understanding of India’s history and culture than the ABVP. Which prefers to believe whatever is convenient for it; rewrite history to suit its Hindutva agenda; and indulge in post-truth politics. Facts and evidence do not matter to it.

I wish I could say that this was the last of the violent incidents, but sadly, it wasn’t. Professors were beaten with iron rods, girls were issued rape threats and rocks were thrown at peoples’ faces. 

We were told to march covering our heads and all the police did was form a flimsy human chain to “protect” us.

The police’s actions were so ineffective that the ABVP members got on top of police vans and abused protesters. The police did absolutely nothing to arrest the ABVP members. While protecting myself from stones, I got hit by a glass bottle on my leg. A boy’s nose was broken, many people’s clothes were torn and someone’s head was bleeding. This was the atmosphere that prevailed outside one of the premier institutions of the country.

Students protest outside Ramjas College on February 22 2017. (Photo: Revathi Krishnan)
Students protest outside Ramjas College on February 22 2017. (Photo: Revathi Krishnan)

It Was NOT a Clash

I was separated from the protest march shortly after crossing SRCC, because some ABVP goons came and started beating people up. That’s when a friend stopped me and asked me to leave behind my “Long Live Freedom of Expression” placard.

I wish I could say I had the courage to hold on to the placard and join the marchers again. But I saw the goons beating up students. Later, I did try to join the protesters, but in vain, because the ABVP, along with the police, had surrounded the students and there was no way to join them.

What is incredible is that the ABVP had the audacity to go on record saying that wild allegations are being made against them. That ABVP leader Yogit Rathi yelled into a journalist’s camera that he’s not a goonda. And that the media is calling it a “clash”, despite the fact that many cameras were broken and journalists were beaten up.

It was one-sided violence – and people were terrorised, students called outsiders on their own campus, professors humiliated, and journalists not allowed to report.

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Journalists were also attacked and their cameras were broken. (Photo: Revathi Krishnan)
Journalists were also attacked and their cameras were broken. (Photo: Revathi Krishnan)

Won’t Let DU be Ruled by ABVP

All this is a great lesson on what fascism looks like. With videos being doctored, false FIRs being registered by the ABVP, students being driven out of their PGs and people being called anti-national for raising slogans, almost everything possible was done to intimidate us.

However, it has resulted in students and professors standing in solidarity, refusing to allow Delhi University to be ruled by the ABVP. And fighting for a campus which encourages dissent, different opinions and a culture of debate and discussion.

(The writer is a student of Hindu College and was part of the protest outside Ramjas College on 21 February 2017. This is a personal blog and the views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

Also Read: Ramjas Student Speaks Up: Police Refused to Protect Us From ABVP

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