LUCKNOW: Two factions of students clashed inside Lucknow University (LU) campus on Tuesday during a march taken out to honour Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula on his 7th death anniversary.
The tension lasted for over 90 minutes and ended only after intervention by university and police authorities.
The incident unfolded around noon when a group of students, including those from All India Students’ Association (AISA), National Students Union of India (NSUI), Birsa Ambedkar Phule Student Association (BAPSA) and the Samajwadi Chatra Sabha (SCS), was carrying out a solidarity march in the honour of Vemula.
Barely five minutes after the group started marching from Tagore library, they were confronted by another faction of students allegedly from Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). While the former carried photos of Vemula and posters reading ‘caste is not a rumour’, the latter held an Indian flag and raised Jai Shri Ram slogans.
The university authorities tried to pacify the two factions but in vain. Police reached the spot and calmed down the students. They changed the route of the march and allowed the non-saffron groups to garland the statue of BR Ambedkar opposite the Malviya Hall, after which the students dispersed.
Additional deputy commissioner of police, central zone, Rajesh Srivastava, said “The two groups of students had a petty quarrel over some ideological issue. The proctor and the university administration informed the police. A team along with senior police officials reached the spot and pacified the two groups. Later, both the groups garlanded the statue and the quarrel was resolved. A police team has been asked to keep a vigil on the campus.”
Prince Prakash, president of NSUI, Lucknow said: “Our solidarity march was to remember Rohith Vemula but the administration did not support us. We were opposed by a group of students from ABVP. Our rights as students are been violated inside the university.”
LU proctor prof Rakesh Dwivedi told TOI: “The programme by AISA was illegal. Till Tuesday morning, we had given no permission to allow their march on campus. However, students entered from gate number 5 holding tambourines and photos of Vemula.”
On January 14, the proctor had even issued a show cause notice to two AISA students for distributing leaflets about their programme where in they had invited prof Ravi Kant Chandan from the department of Hindi to speak on the topic ‘social discrimination, violence and political witch-hunt in educational institutions’.
“These students were asked to take permission before distributing leaflets that were misleading. When they denied, we had to issue show cause notice to them,” Dwivedi said.
The leaflets, said members would be talking about Vemula and the role of Hyderabad University that raises questions on the administration and Central government’s approach to marginalised students. It also stated the poor condition of scholarship in UP.
LU AISA convenor Anjali Atmaja said: “The blatant casteism and discrimination against marginalised students still continues on campuses. The recent scrapping of MANF fellowship and pre-metric SC, ST scholarship stands in support of the above statement.”





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