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28 Feb 2017

'Nationalist' cub threatens to chop finger of dissent

Ankit Sangwan, DUSU general secretary, rides on the shoulders of ABVP supporters as he leads the Tiranga March on the Delhi University campus on Monday. Picture by Pheroze L Vincent
PHEROZE L. VINCENT, TT, New Delhi, Feb. 27: Among the many voices that rang out in Delhi University today, two stood out. One threatened to spill others' blood; the other recalled the blood, sweat and more shed for over three decades to build a college where he had little option but to spend his last day tomorrow unable to fulfil a wish.
Ankit Sangwan, the ABVP leader who heads the Delhi University Student Union, told a flag march by his supporters that "if anyone raises a finger on this country, that finger will be cut".
The solution for "anti-nationalism" was prescribed on the university campus on a day one minister after another threw their weight behind the Sangh's student arm.
The open threat by Sangwan, the DUSU general secretary, capped a nearly weeklong campus turmoil that began with the ABVP disrupting a seminar at Delhi University's Ramjas College over an invite to JNU students considered "anti-national" by the Sangh. The ABVP holds three of four key positions in the DUSU.
At Ramjas, principal Rajendra Prasad, who retires tomorrow, cancelled an expected speech to students.
Instead, he released an impassioned appeal, saying: "My heart bleeds when Ramjas bleeds, because I have put in 32 years of blood, sweat and tears to bring Ramjas to its present stature."
He added: "I again urgently appeal to all students and other stakeholders and role players to respect the right of others to study; and to act responsibly through constructive engagement and to desist from any form of disruptive action..."
On Wednesday, ABVP activists had attacked a student march that was protesting the disruption of the seminar at Ramjas. Several varsity events in the capital have been indefinitely postponed since the violence, which left many people, including three teachers, injured.
Today, Sangwan led an ABVP march through the campus with a 180ft-long cloth Tricolour, chanting slogans calling for a purge of communists from Delhi University.
When the march ended, Sangwan climbed on the pedestal of a Swami Vivekananda statue at the arts faculty. "This march was for all those students whom the Left activists misbehaved with (last Wednesday). We won't let this (campus) become JNU part two," he said.
"Friends, the media repeatedly say we committed this violence, they call us intolerant. Who are these people who label us intolerant? We are patriots. If anyone raises a finger against this country, we will not tolerate it."
The threat to the finger came soon as Sangwan's supporters cheered him on, chanting: " Bharat Mata ki jai".
"The way these people poisoned JNU, they want to poison DU too. But we won't allow this," Sangwan said. " Dilli Vishwavidyalaya ka chhatra itna jaagruk hai ki agar is desh ke baare mein koi ungli uthaane ki koshish karega, tho woh ungli kaat di jayegi par bolne nahi diya jayega (Delhi University's students are so aware that if anyone raises a finger at this country, that finger will be cut and they won't be allowed to speak)."
DUSU president Amit Tanwar told the gathering: "If the communists enter again, they will be opposed."
The RSS-backed teachers' body, the Rashtrawadi Shikshak Sangh, also waded into the row, protesting against the alleged anti-national slogans chanted at Ramjas last week. One of its leaders, Manoj Khanna, said: "We must counter the Red insects.... If someone tries to insult my motherland, I will be unable to control my actions."
A senior police officer said the cops were bracing for a march tomorrow by students and teachers supported by the Left. "They may need protection from the ABVP.... Adequate deployment has been planned," the officer added.
The march - in protest against ABVP "hooliganism" - has been planned from Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur Khalsa College, which had to indefinitely postpone a street skit competition under ABVP pressure. A student theatre troupe from the college was prevented from performing at another college following "advice" from the police to the organisers.

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