Delhi Police Turns on JNU: Open Lathi Charge on Student-Teacher Long March

Written by SabrangIndia Staff | Published on: March 23, 2018
#JNULongMarchProtest, was manhandled by both women and men constables of the Delhi police. My phone was snached away by a woman police constable, glasses broken and lost. I tried explaining to them...showed them my press card. They said 'phone wapas nahi milega...bhaar mein jao!'
Only when I threatened to write about it, they threw my phone back at me. They smirked and retorted saying 'Action lengey. Dekhtey hain kitna press se ho tum'
Extremely angry and infuriated with the Delhi Police. What a sad and disgusting show of power! #shame
 
 Journalist Aishwarya Adhikari's Facebook Post



The Delhi Police on Friday first cordoned off, and then ordered a lathi charge on thousands of JNU students and teachers, who were marching towards Parliament protesting against removal of several department heads and a coordinator for not complying with the university’s new attendance rules. The other demand included immediate suspension and arrest of Prof Atul Johri who is accused of sexual harassment. Many of the students have been detained. Several were seriously injured.



In a continuing attack on India's premier central university -- that began with the Modi government's slapping sedition charges against students in February 2016, the Delhi police which is under the Ministry of Home Affairs simply did not allow the peaceful protest to take place. The 2-kilometre long march was quietly proceeeding from North gate of the campus to Parliaent street when they were suddenly stopped after Bhikaji Cama Palace before the Safdarjung Flyover. Suddenly the protesters were cordoned off and water canons were used before the lathi charge was resorted to. Following the brutality of the police, protesters went to INA and the Sanjay Park.



The Delhi Police on Friday ordered a lathi charge here on thousands of JNU students and teachers, who were marching towards Parliament protesting against removal of several department heads and a coordinator for not complying with the university’s new attendance rules. The other demand included immediate suspension and arrest of Prof Atul Johri who is accused of sexual harassment. Many of the students have been detained.
 
 

The long march was completely peaceful and orderly, with students walking in lines, shouting slogans, carrying placards. The police followed the procession in large numbers but the strength increased to over 200 at INA market where the road had been barricaded. Even before the students could react the cops moved in and started pushing them around. This angered the students who tried to move on.

This was all that the police had been waiting for and they attacked the students with lathis, and water canons. Police brutality is visible in the video below, posted on Twitter:
Not just JNU, but civil society and students from the other Delhi universities joined the march with thousands participating.Water canons were used against all in the march, including teachers and others who participated. The canons were taken down the length of the procession, to ensure that all were hit by the water.



The students are staging a peaceful and silent iprotest at INA, demanding release of the detained students. The march was in response to the open call by the JNU Students Union and Teachers Association to protest against the removal of deans and chairpersons from the Centres ; and the ongoing sexual harassment case where the accused Professor was arrested and released immediately on bail. The girls who have been harassed by him held a press conference in Delhi recently, and made it clear to the media that Johri was a serial offender. They also said that unlike the propaganda by some of his supporters in the BJP, they were not from the Left students organisations but actually most of them were registered members of the ABVP.

The JNU teachers are protesting against the removal of several department heads and a coordinator for not complying with the university's new attendance rules, and a number of them are on a hunger strike.



Also, Nine women students have filed police complaints against Atul Johri, Professor at the School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), accusing him of sexual harassment, abuse of power and sexual misconduct. 



The association said the university's administration has not reached out to the faculty members who have been on the hunger strike for the past three days. It has also demanded that the management withdraw its notification removing the department heads and other circulars issued without consulting relevant university authorities.

The association also criticised the JNU administration over what it called selective inaction by the university against a professor accused of sexual harassment.
Meanwhile various representatives from the political parties rushed to the spot and extended support the students. Manoj Jha from RJD, Ali Anwar from JD(U) and Brinda Karat from the CPI(M) addressed the gathering. 

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 ‘Serial Harasser’ professor being safeguarded by JNU Admin?