Tamil students were apparently assaulted when a clash broke out between Left-wing and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (AVBP) students of the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) in Delhi on the night of Sunday, 19 February.
The Left-wing students alleged that the ABVP cadres had attacked them while they were conducting a peaceful protest march on campus following the suicide of IIT Bombay student Darshan Solanki.
The Left-wing students alleged that the ABVP students vandalised portraits of “Thanthai” Periyar and Karl Marx. It was also reported that three Tamil students had been attacked during the clash.
A group of 30 students who conducted a seminar organised by the Reservation Club on the “Thoughts of Thanthai Periyar” and later joined the march were also allegedly attacked.
A research scholar from Tamil Nadu — Naser — was admitted to a hospital in Delhi after he sustained head injuries.
Speaking to South First, research scholar Vignesh Anand, alleged, “Nearly 10-15 people barged into the union hall and started vandalising the portrait of Periyar, terming him a ‘scoundrel’. When Naser questioned them, they attacked him with a small wooden handle and when we tried to stop them, they started attacking us too.”
He added, “We immediately called an ambulance as Naser was bleeding profusely. When the ambulance came, the people in it began giving him first aid. But three AVBP people dragged him out from the ambulance and tried to beat him again.”
Later, Naser’s friends managed to admit him to the hospital for treatment. Later in the evening, he was treated and discharged.
Meanwhile, Dharmapuri MP Dr S Senthilkumar visited JNU on Monday and reinstated the photo of Periyar at the Students’ Union Office.
ABVP denies claims
However, the ABVP denied the charges and stated that the Left-backed student outfits insulted Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, and charged that it was the Left-wing students who had attacked them.
JNU ABVP Secretary Umesh Chandra Ajmera stated that on the occasion of Shivaji Jayanti, they kept a portrait of him at the student activity centre, but students from the SFI threw it outside the room, while the garland was thrown in the dustbin.
In a statement, the ABVP said that the “insult of revolutionaries and great men by Leftists is extremely unfortunate and unacceptable”.
Stalin condemns the attack
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin condemned the attacks. Taking to Twitter, Stalin said the cowardly attack on Tamil students by the ABVP.
He added that the acts of vandalism on portraits of leaders like Periyar and Karl Marx at the JNU were highly condemnable. He called for strict action from the university administration.
Stalin also alleged that the Delhi Police had once again turned “mute spectators” to the violence unleashed on students who fought for their rights.
He expressed solidarity with the students and further requested the JNU administration to initiate action against the attackers and protect students from Tamil Nadu.
Universities are not just spaces for learning but also for discussion, debate & dissent.
The cowardly attack on Tamil students by ABVP & vandalising the portraits of leaders like Periyar, Karl Marx at #JNU, is highly condemnable and calls for a strict action from the Univ Admin.
— M.K.Stalin (@mkstalin) February 20, 2023
MDMK general secretary Vaiko also condemned the attack on Tamil students. In his statement, Vaiko said that stringent action should be initiated against the culprits.
On 12 February, 18-year-old Solanki — belonging to a Scheduled Caste community — allegedly died by suicide by jumping off the seventh floor of a hostel building on the Powai campus of IIT Delhi.
The family members, who suspect foul play in his death, alleged that the student had faced discrimination.
Second incident in a month
Earlier this month, a similar clash erupted after some Left-wing students watched a controversial documentary on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The documentary, titled India: The Modi Question, allegedly showcased the prime minister in a bad light and questioned his alleged role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.