On 21 February, the English Department at Ramjas College, at Delhi University, and Wordcraft—the college’s literature society—held a seminar titled “Cultures of Protest: A Seminar Exploring Representations of Dissent.” On the day of the event, however, the college became the site for violent altercations involving students from the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (ABVP)—the student political organisation affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh—faculty members and students of Ramjas, and the event’s attendees.
About halfway through the first session, a group of protestors, comprising several members of the ABVP, began a demonstration outside the venue, and allegedly pelted stones at those present at the event. The ABVP members and supporters objected to the seminar on the grounds that itsline-up of speakers included the Jawaharlal Nehru University students Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid. Khalid and Rashid are both associated with events that transpired in JNU, in February 2016—Khalid was arrested, and along with others, accused of sedition. Rashid, the former vice president of the JNU students’ union, became a vocal proponent of the demand for the students’ release.Following the opposition to the event, the organisers met with Rajendra Prasad, the principal of Ramjas. They then decided to withdraw the invitations to Khalid and Rashid.
On 22 February this year,students and faculty members from DU marched from Ramjas College to Maurice Nagar police station, to protest against the events of the previous day, as well as the actions of the ABVP members. The protests were met with violent resistance—near the gate of Ramjas college, members of the ABVP as well as their supporters stopped the march. Clashes ensued—protestors later alleged that members of the ABVP and their supporters had launched brutal attacks on them, in plain view of the police.