Karnataka police lathi-charge protesting students

Was this excessive display of force absolutely necessary?


Karnataka police have once again displayed how they prefer violence as a means to quell protests. They resorted to a lathi-charge on two separate student protest groups on January 31, 2022, severely injuring Dalits students and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists.

Bangalore University Post Graduation and Research Scholars Forum (BUPGRSF) students were holding demonstrations at the Bangalore University campus on Monday to condemn the Principal District and Sessions Judge Mallikarjuna Gowda’s alleged decision to remove Dr B. R. Ambedkar’s portrait from the dais during Republic Day celebrations in Raichur.

However, the day took a different turn when ABVP members gathered in the same area to decry the sorry state of university hostels and the ‘delay’ in marksheet distribution to former students. Viral videos of the event show an ABVP woman activist with an injury to her head. Some Dalit students also suffered injuries.



According to Indian Express, police intervened when the two groups got into a conflict. BUPGRSP office bearer Lokesh N. R. said that the ABVP came to the venue where students had been protesting for three days. Against any politically affiliated group, the BUPGRSF students asked the other group to peacefully protest without displaying their flags. Instead the group returned to the venue with more people.

While the former group claimed it had permission for the protest, police officials as well as Vice Chancellor Venugopal K.R. denied any such privilege to either group. Instead, Venugopal told Indian Express that the college will take action against both groups of students for inciting violence on-campus.

Police action against protesting students is steadily becoming a norm in India. Earlier, Prayagraj students from Uttar Pradesh suffered brutal police action inside their hostels while youth groups demanding employment in Railways survived tear gas attacks by the police. Although there were reports of the students setting train bogies on fire, All India Students’ Association (AISA) leaders said youths were being framed for raising an important national issue of employment.

In the case of Karnataka, demands of Dalit students have also been neglected in the ensuing chaos.


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Did KEM Dean, hostel wardens enable caste-based ragging and atrocities?

Dalits and Adivasis suffered violence and discrimination even in 2021



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