Delhi: Student, Activists Campaigning for G.N. Saibaba’s Release Allegedly Attacked by ABVP Members

New Delhi: Members of the ‘Campaign Against State Repression’, a joint front of nearly 36 organisations, have alleged that they were attacked by members of the Akhil Bharti Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – while campaigning for Delhi University professor G.N. Saibaba’s release in the north campus area.

The incident occurred on Thursday (December 1) evening.

Five members of the Campaign were injured in the violence, while two members of the ABVP also reportedly suffered injuries.

The activists claim that they were attacked with stones, lathis and rods.

Speaking to The Wire, student activist Sangeeta from the Bhagat Singh Chatra Ekta Manch (BCEM) claimed that 15 persons who were protesting were allegedly attacked. “We were campaigning, singing songs near the Maurice Nagar Police station when we saw two people come initially, after which they made some calls and a group of about 60-70 people gathered. It had some women as well.”

A statement released by the group states, “After sometime, three cars with ABVP goons showed up. They covered their faces with Aam Aadmi party flags. We sensed danger and began walking towards the campus. They started throwing stones and tomatoes on us. When we reached Patel Chest Institute, they started attacking us with belts, rods and lathis.”

Student activist Baadal of the BCEM was reportedly hit on the head by a brick, while Ehtmam from Lawyers Against Atrocities suffered an injury on his ears.

The activists reached out to the Roop Nagar police station, after which they were sent for a medico-legal examination to the Hindu Rao Hospital. Activists claimed that ABVP members had surrounded the hospital and were making threats.

Currently, the activists are in the process of filing an FIR against the ABVP. The Wire reached out to the ABVP about what had happened on Thursday, but did not get a response.

Saibaba, 52, who is wheelchair-bound due to a physical disability, is currently lodged in the Nagpur central prison. He was arrested in February 2014.

In October this year, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court had acquitted the six persons including in a Maoist links case after saying the sanction order required under Section 45 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) was null and void. It said that while the war against terror must be waged by the state with “unwavering resolve”, a democratic society can “ill afford sacrificing the procedural safeguards” at the altar of “perceived peril to national security”.

However, the Supreme Court suspended the Bombay high court judgment soon after, thereby staying the release of Saibaba and other accused.

Featured image: Injured members of Campaign Against State Repression. Photos: Special arrangement

This article was first published on The Wire.