The ignominious behaviour caught on camera by journalists shows how ill-prepared our police personnel are to deal with democracy in action.
Ramjas College 2017 is fast becoming JNU 2016 redux. The cops are as devoid of tact and compassion as the ABVP members are devoid of intellectual arguments to combat the teachers and students of Delhi University who wished to hear Umar Khalid talk about his doctoral dissertation.
But because ABVP and its Sangh patrons don’t want DU students to engage in a real education, a college seminar lecture on an urgent issue of national importance, the systematic disenfranchisement of India’s adivasis, they practised their obstructionist politics once again, of course with full complicity from Delhi Police.
The seat of siege that Ramjas College has become is only aggravated by the fact that the peaceful protesters, including teachers and students of DU, JNU and others interested in the topic, could not even march to the nearest police station without getting beaten up, their hair pulled, assaulted and injured by the ABVP goons.
To add insult to injury, Delhi Police cops literally allowed the ABVP to run amok, and in fact, as this video shows, actually punched, manhandled women, smashing their phones, taking cameras away from journalists, so that no record of their complicity remains.
As it happens, despite their best efforts, journalists braved injury from both ABVP members and Delhi cops and managed to record clinching evidence of just how ill-equipped Delhi Police is to deal with democracy in action.
But what we need to ask is this: is THIS how our cops are trained to tackle peaceful protests: the basic democratic practice of registering dissent? The last we checked, India was still a democratic republic and peaceful congregation to demand justice is a core right in a democracy. How is it that our cops have not been acquainted with the most basic of civilian rights?
This is not just boorishness of an individual policeman which can be understood as a possible aberration. A group of cops huddled together punching women demanding the right to have our universities unsullied by hooliganism of the ABVP variety – is this the demonstration of “nationalism” that we’d want to inculcate?
Are the cops completely unaware of the rights of the citizens? Is beating them up, punching and roughing up women students the patriotism that this regime is proud of? Is humiliating women publicly, harming them physically an extension of the domestic violence on wives, daughters and sisters in households that men, particularly of the ABVP and Delhi Police variety, want to practice with élan?
This, and several other videos, Facebook testimonials, Twitter tales caught on camera, cameras since smashed or damaged, taken away from students, journalists, are pointing towards only one thing. Delhi Police has no intention of catching the real miscreants, who happen to be the pseudo-patriots of the hyper-nationalist and violent cult called ABVP.
Instead, innocent women and their male friends, teachers, professors, journalists doing their job and reporting this systematic and sustained assault on the independence of the university – these are the people who are constantly being targeted, with covert patronage from the top.
The unconscionable act of Delhi Police is simply unacceptable. But not unexpected. We saw it in JNU, in Hyderabad University in the wake of protests after Rohith Vemula’s suicide. We saw how eager Indian cops and their political masters are to arrest and imprison the unaffiliated, independent and intellectually curious students. And just how cowering their actions become when those really breaking the law into pieces need to be dealt with.
Those flouting it with impunity, spreading the vicious political agenda of violence and poisoning university life for students and teachers who simply want to learn and teach without fear or falsehoods, those endangering lives of university dwellers, those screaming nationalism to practice the most toxic brand of thuggery, dismantling the university – we saw how the cops wet their khaki pants in dealing with them.
If anyone needs to truly grow a spine here, it’s Delhi Police. Ours might be the rape capital of India, but let’s punch the woman protesters instead to show just what kind of men we truly are.
What lawlessness from the lawkeepers of the nation. Shame.