A group of students and teachers had gathered at Ramjas College to protest, they said, in favour of free speech. Umar Khalid and another student, Shehla Rashid, were to speak at a session on the "culture of protest" organised as part of a two-day seminar by the college literary society. But after protests by the BJP-linked Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad or ABVP members, their talk was scrapped. As they shouted slogans outside the college today, ABVP activists arrived too.
AISA activists say they were surrounded by ABVP members and not allowed to march."We were attacked, the cops did nothing. Our students were bleeding. They hurled bricks at us...They pulled the hair of women," said Shehla Rashid.
The ABVP denied attacking protesters or even forcing the college to cancel its invite to the JNU students.
"There was no violence. The ABVP always promotes discussion. But you need to maintain decorum...The college students and teachers didn't want Umar Khalid," claimed ABVP leader Abhishek Verma.
Yesterday, the Ramjas college principal, Rajender Prasad said, "While the seminar will continue we decided to cancel participation of these two students. It is not that we do not advocate freedom of speech but it had to be done keeping peace and harmony of campus in mind."
Umar Khalid was charged with sedition and jailed last year for his alleged role in an event in JNU or the Jawaharlal Nehru University in which anti-India slogans were raised.