HPU Violence Continues: Stone pelting in presence of police, 15 injured, 13 arrested
SHIMLA- Bloody student clash at Himachal Pradesh University campus between two student outfits that had begun on October 2 continued on Monday despite deployment of heavy police/QRT force. Even presence of higher police officials including the Additional Director General Police AP Sadiki and Superintendent Shimla Police DW Negi couldn’t prevent fresh clashes.
Unfortunately, the National Assessment & Accreditation Council (NAAC) team, which is on inspection of varsity for determination of grade and academic standards, also witnessed the tension between students.
On Monday Morning, ABVP workers allegedly dragged two tribal students including the president of HPU Tribal Student Association Arun Rana and his friend out of a car and launched an assault in the presence of police. Two tribal students were going to receive the NAAC team when they were attacked at the Summerhill Chowk. Attackers hurled casteist comments with vulgar abuses and life-threats, injured Rana told Himachal Watcher over phone.
He also alleged that on September 29, 2016, tribal students had lodged a complaint at Summerhill Police Post regarding casteist commenting by ABVP activists.
This attack in the morning was followed by protests from both groups that turned into brawl and concluded with stone pelting near the Vice-Chancellor office in afternoon. About 13-15 students sustained injuries and created a bloody scene at the campus.
Four FIRs Lodged Since Saturday
About 13 students associated with SFI were arrested and cases were register under Sections 147, 148, 149, 307, 323 and 506 of IPC.
Meanwhile, SFI alleged that despite FIR registered by the attacked tribal students, no ABVP worker was arrested. Police had already arrested 10-12 SFI activists after initial clashes on Saturday night and Sunday. SFI has alleged one sided police action in the case.
So far, four FIRs including two on Saturday have been lodged. Both SFI and ABVP had lodged FIRs following violence on Saturday night.
Police Attitude Questionable
Considering the fact that NAAC team is on visit from October 3 to 6, Shimla Police officials didn’t seem much concerned with violence. As alleged by both ABVP and SFI, police force watched the brawl and violence like mute spectators . Earlier last year, when the students were protesting against massive fee hikes and poor implementation of RUSA, the SP, DW Negi, had unleashed QRT on students like hungry hounds. For about three months Section 144 was imposed at the campus to prevent further student protests. Now, when the NAAC team is at the varsity, a crucial visit on which future of varsity depends, SP Negi is silent. Armed students were seen flashing sharp-edged weapons since Sunday in the presence of police, which is surprising as well as questionable.
NAAC Team Visit Amid Violent Clashes
It is unfortunate for the varsity that during crucial four-day visit of NAAC team, students presented such an ugly image of campus environment, which is hardly acceptable. The NAAC team that had arrived at varsity on Monday carried out their inspection under heavy security. Entire varsity has been turned into a fortress with deployment of additional police and QRT forces like the varsity is located near LoC. Along with visiting various varsity facilities NAAC team interacted with the teaching and non-teaching staff and students to assess the facilities provided to them. NAAC team members did question the violence between students and expressed concern over its affect on academic environment.
Another considerable aspect of this violence is that it’s not ideological battle; rather it is taking a form of a vicious cycle of vengeance that will only bring more bloodshed. When the institute has become a hub of corruption, youth of Himachal should have united against administration. However, student organizations prefer to remain divided and shed blood of their own people.