The campus has been superlatively turbulent over the last one week. The February 21 & 22 occurrence at Ramjas College was followed by several stories explaining the occurrence on the social media. What also followed were student wings and allies coming out in large numbers on the streets to put up their stand in the last few days.
University Express in its quest to explore the other side of the coin, spoke to Delhi University Students’ Union (DUSU) President Amit Tanwar at the Save DU March held by the ABVP. In the exclusive conversation, he answered the allegations put against him and the party, also enumerating how things unfolded on the particular days.
Q: How much is the DUSU President affected by how things have unfolded in the campus in the last one week and ABVP being labelled as “Gunda” party?
Amit Tanwar: See, this doesn’t affect us. People are their to shout, and their doing the same. If ABVP is into “Gundagardi”, I shall remind you we have been winning DUSU elections for the last few years. This is a clear indication that the common students are with ABVP. The common student has concerns for the nation, and they are aware of the people engaging in anti-nationalist sloganeering. The reason why common students are standing with ABVP.
Q: Tell us what happened that day at Ramjas College.
Amit: The students of Ramjas College called us up informing that Umar Khalid was coming to the campus. They firstly objected to this and asked us for help. When we went there, they held a rally sloganeering “Kashmir Maange Azaadi” and “Bastar Maange Azaadi”, the common students and ABVP activists opposed this. We too opposed this, that you cannot do this kind of sloganeering in the campus. The next day, they still called up Shehla Rashid for the event despite college’s disapproval. They started the violence, threw chappals, garbage, tore student’s clothes, and engaged in physical violence. They then had a scuffle with common students, when the police intervened, both the groups got physical injuries.
Q: So you are denying any physical violence/harm inflicted by ABVP activists?
Amit : They talk of freedom of speech. When the anti-national sloganeering happened at JNU, leftist and anti-nationalist people like Umar Khalid were present, the same happened in Delhi University. This is a conspiracy to destroy (the nation). What they did in Hyderabad is not hidden from us. They cannot talk of breaking the country under the pretext of freedom of speech. I agree everyone has the right to freedom of speech but you cannot talk of breaking the nation.
Q: Do you think ABVP has been wrongly projected in the media?
Amit: Media has been projecting things incorrectly. They projected Prashant Mukherjee, who is the SFI President, beating up a common student, as an ABVP activist. SFI is doing the shabby act and ABVP is being held responsible. Therefore, our media should be more responsible in projecting the right thing. I request you to project the right thing. What happened in JNU would not be repeated in DU, and the youth and the common student shall oppose this.
Q: What is your take on being alleged of curtailing the freedom of speech in the campus?
Amit: Everybody has the freedom of speech, and the right to present their take. But that doesn’t mean you disrespect the country, the national flag or the constitution. If they are so much into exercising the freedom of speech: Why didn’t they allow Baba Ramdev to enter JNU? Why did they show black flags to Subramaniyam Swami in the campus? Who stopped Abdul Kalam from giving a speech in the campus? If they are speaking good for the nation, they are stopped but supported if speaking against the nation. They call Afzal Guru “Shaheed” and celebrate Mahishasura Diwas, calling Durga Mata with bad names. These wolves asking for freedom should be given the same, they should be held out of this country.
Q: On ABVP’s strength in the Delhi University Campus.
Amit: Their protests had 40-50 year old Uncle-Aunties, professors and students from JNU and Jamia, but not common students. But in this protest, you will find the common students of the Delhi University.
Q: Anything you wish to convey to the students of Delhi University?
Amit: I wish to say that please stay away from these leftists trying to break the nation and malign our universities. And also oppose any such occurrence if it happens in your college, as a student, youth and a citizen of the country.