Statement of BHRPC on the Attack in Delhi University by ABVP Members
8th November 2008
Barak Human Rights Protection Committee (BHRPC), a human rights organization working in Assam) strongly condemns the latest incident of vandalism by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP, student wing of the Bharatia Janata Party) in Delhi University, in which members of the press community were also made victims.
The University Community, an independent group of students and teachers of Delhi University, had organised a meeting on "Communalism, Fascism and Democracy: Rhetoric and Reality" on 6th November 2008 at Room No. 22 Arts Faculty. It did not come as a surprise that right-wing forces would be opposed to any meaningful discussion on these issues.
As soon as SAR Geelani, lecturer at Zakir Husain College of University of Delhi, entered the hall and took his seat on the stage, one of the ABVP activists sitting inside came up and spat on his face twice.
The ABVP activists attacked the women students and participants, broke the microphone and hurled chairs. They also manhandled media persons who were covering the meeting. Two journalists from Tehelka and Mail Today, who were speakers at the meeting, were threatened by ABVP.
This is ominous because during a meeting on communalism and fascism the chair, speakers and other participants have been attacked in a country which is known to be democratic, secular and respectful to the human rights and the rule of law. This act of vandalism is nothing but the manifestation of threat posed by communal and fascist forces to the secular and democratic fabric of our country.
This is a failure on the part of police and administration to perform their legal duty to provide security and ensure the exercise of the right to freedom of thought and expression by the citizens of the country.
BHRPC calls upon the human rights and civil society organisations to protest against this assault on academic freedom and democratic rights. BHRPC also urges the authorities:
1. To initiate a prompt, impartial and time-bound investigation into this act of vandalism.
2. To lodge an FIR against ABVP members, who were responsible for this vandalism.
3. To pay adequate compensation to those who have been victimized.
4. To take adequate measures to prevent repetition of such vandalism and violations of human rights.