A public meeting at Delhi University, organised by Bhagat Singh Chhatra Ekta Manch was interrupted, allegedly by members of the right wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) the student organisation affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), as well as the Bharatiya Janata Party. The disturbance was sudden, after the families of rape victims of Butana (haryana) and of Gurmandi (Delhi) were recounted the horrific crimes, and studnets activist Rajveer Kaur of the bsCEM was speaking about the state crackdown on women activists such as Sudha Bharadwaj and others. The event at Arts Faculty, University Of Delhi was being live streamed when the camera panned right to a possible disturbance, Kaur was heard asking people not to disrupt the programme, when suddenly two women ran towards her, and another man was heard shouting Bharat Mata Ki Jai off camera. Delhi police personnel, including women constables, also ran towards the disruption. Though someone was heard saying “why are you hitting them”, it was not clear if any physical violence had ensued.
What followed was mayhem, still being live streamed, as more police personnel arrived on the scene, urging the Delhi University students to end their Women’s Day programme. Ironically the programme was titled “Let the Women Speak,” and now the speakers were being asked to shut the show down and leave the premises. The ruckus continued for a long time and the Delhi Police were seen wheeling in metal barricades to cordon off the area.
On this 113th International Working Women’s day, the event, according to the organisers, was to “bring the women voices together that rose against repression, atrocities”. The title ‘Let the Women Speak’ they stated was to give a platform to those who were struggling to seek justice from what they termed was a “Fascist Regime.” There was a small poster exhibition, at the site, and a quiet group of students and a couple of teachers and others who had gathered to listen to, Labour Rights Activist, Nodeep Kaur speak. Other speakers were the Gurhmandi rape victim’s aunt Kusum, who is still seeking justice for the victim, and the Kavita mother of the Butana girl who has alleged she was raped in police custody and others. Shaheen Bagh Protest icon Bilkis Bano was also named in the list of speakers issued earlier.
However, the disruption took the evening in another direction completely. According to the organisers, local police may have detained student activists Ravinder, Varkey and Anil. Activists Rajveer Kaur, Sangeeta, Monica alleged that they were attacked and were seen in another video waiting outside the police station. The live stream may be viewed here:
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