JNU students call off hunger strike, protest continue outside police HQ

JNU students call off hunger strike, protest continue outside police HQ

Nine JNU students today called off their hunger strike against the alleged delay in justice to Rohith Vemula even as their counterparts from various universities across Delhi protested outside police headquarters the recent police action against demonstrators near RSS office, blocking traffic at ITO.

"We have been on a hunger strike in solidarity with the agitating students of Hyderabad University. Now that they have resumed their classes, we have also decided to call off the fast but our fight will continue," said Lenin, former president of JNU Students' Union, who was among those on hunger strike.

The other group of students from universities across Delhi, including members of Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS) and Left-backed All India Students Association (AISA), staged a demonstration outside the police headquarters demanding action against the cops who assaulted the protesting students in front of RSS office.

A video of police thrashing a group of students with sticks and fists and dragging women by their hair outside RSS headquarters here during a protest over Dalit student Rohith Vemula's suicide had triggered outrage with Congress and AAP seeking action against the erring cops.

"Government is not listening to our demands, police are attacking us. Where are we supposed to go? Hang ourselves like Rohith did and succumb to their atrocities?" said JNU Students' Union Vice President Shehla Rashid Shora.

A KYS protester said, "The police commissioner needs to tell the country why cops behaved in this manner and on whose instructions they did so. They were so prompt in taking action against the students, why is the top cop not acting against his own policemen now?"

The protest by the students caused traffic jam near the busy ITO interection.
The students alleged they were treated in a similar manner by police whenever they tried to stage any demonstration and raise their voice against any issue.

Meanwhile, Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi said he was ready to meet a delegation of students and address their concerns.

A three-member delegation from JNU Students' Union later met SK Gautam, Joint Commissoner of Police (Central Range), who assured them of action.

"Be it 'Occupy UGC Movement' or protest against sexual harassment by any professor, we had to face similar police crackdowns. So many times we tried to go to the HRD Ministry but we were not even allowed to submit memorandums," said Sunny Kumar, a protester.

The JNU students had decided to go on an indefinite hunger strike after they were detained from outside the HRD Ministry for staging a protest against the alleged delay in justice to Vemula, a Dalit PhD scholar who was found hanging in Hyderabad Central University's hostel on January 17.

The protesting students have been demanding the resignations of Union ministers Smriti Irani and Bandaru Dattatreya and the Vice-Chancellor of the varsity over the issue.
The students also alleged police were acting on the directions of the Centre as two of its ministers are under attack in the wake of the suicide.

"We demand independent probe into the issue. The video is very clear where police and RSS goons assaulted students then why Bassi is taking so much time to act," said 25-year-old Dinesh.

Another protester Nikita alleged, "Delhi Police has shown that its original colour is not khakhi but saffron. They are the private army of the Central government which thrashes protesting students demanding justice".

"The entire country is aware of our demands that Smriti Irani, Dattartreya and the VC must resign immediately instead of crackdown on students," said Ritesh.

RSS had yesterday rejected allegations that some of its workers were involved in thrashing a group of student protesters along with police personnel outside its headquarters.

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