Ruffians show muscle power, brandish guns

Violence brings bad name to what is supposed to be a democratic exercise

Intimidation and violence once again appear to be an integral part of Delhi University Students’ Union polls with scuffles being reported to police and even illegal weapons recovered from campus.

On Monday, two Kirori Mal College (KMC) students were severely injured when a group supporting the National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) allegedly told an independent candidate to pull out of the presidential race.

As the candidate refused, NSUI members allegedly attacked his supporters with iron rods. Two students,  Suryavanshi Mani and Priyam Aggarwal,  were rushed to Hindu Rao Hospital.

Following the attack, KMC authorities said security has been tightened till the elections get over. “We have increased security for students both within the campus and in hostel premises,” says KMC Principal S P Gupta.

DU’s election office, however, claimed that no action could be taken unless the candidate’s name figures in an FIR. A case was filed on a complaint lodged by Suryavanshi with Maurice Nagar police station. He named four of the attackers as Abhishek Malik, Manjeet, Akash and Pawan. They were arrested for criminal intimidation, causing hurt and wrongful restraint under the Indian Penal Code.

“A few men wearing t-shirts bearing Vishal Chaudhary’s name arrived on the college campus and told us not to file for nomination and withdraw from the polls. When we refused, they beat us up with iron rods,” Suryavanshi told police.

He also reported that the attackers threatened them with dire consequences if they approached police. “They told us that they will get us killed by goons from Haryana,” Suryavanshi said.

And then on Wednesday, five men, including a first-year law student, were arrested after two pistols and 17 cartridges were seized near Hindu College.  

Prashant Kumar, Anuj Singh, Neeraj Pal, Pankaj and Subodh Kumar were arrested under an Arms Act case. Subodh is a DU student, while the others belong to different colleges in the NCR.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (North) Sindhu Pillai says the weapons were recovered when a Mahindra Scorpio car was signalled to stop for checking at a picket in Chubarja Chowk. “Five men were in the car and they were acting suspicious. On personal search, a pistol was recovered from Prashant, while another was recovered from Pankaj.” 

Anuj was carrying three cartridges, while Subodh had three cartridges and Neeraj was held with a magazine and six cartridges. The accused told police that they had come to show off their clout on the invitation of a presidential candidate. The car belongs to Prashant’s relative in Uttar Pradesh.

Five students were admitted to Hindu Rao Hospital on Monday after yet another election-related fight. A scuffle broke out between two groups near Kranti Chowk. Two of the five hurt are KMC students.

They five students refused to give their statement to police, but eyewitnesses informed that they were involved in a scuffle near Wall of Democracy at Kranti Chowk. They were booked under section 160 (committing affray) of the Indian Penal code.

Similarly, in South Campus, a 22-year-old student was beaten up by four youths on the premises of Ram Lal Anand College on Wednesday.

Shashi Kant, a former joint secretary of the college’s students union, told police that he was attacked by a group of students whose nomination papers were cancelled for being short of attendance.

Shashi later approached police patrolling outside the college. Police went with Shashi inside the college, but the accused managed to flee using the rear gate. Shashi was taken to Safdarjung Hospital.  

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