The students at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) have accused the police manhandling 'divyang' students and groping women protesters. They have also accused police of baton-charging them during their agitation on the streets of Delhi against hostel fee hike. The Delhi police, however, have denied lathicharging, using tear gas or any form of violence against students.
Shashi Bhushan Pandey, a visually challenged student who is also a JNUSU SSS councillor, claimed that police beat him up even when he told them he is "differently-abled", while JNU Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh alleged that women students were "manhandled and groped" by male policemen.
In a video circulating on social media, Pandey can be seen being pushed by policemen during the protests. On camera, he was seen removing his glasses and telling police he is blind. However, despite that, he was manhandled by the police.
Meanwhile, the JNU Visually Challenged Students’ Forum has called for a demonstration against the "Brutal Lathi charge of Delhi Police" and demand for justice for persons with disabilities.
"This is a clear cut violation of the United Nation’s Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 and Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2016 act. Therefore, the forum demands a Delegation level talks with the Chief Commissioner of Delhi Police and demands for the full protection of Persons with Disabilities anywhere in the national capital of Delhi with an immediate effect," a statement said.
They have urged people to gather in front of the Police Headquarters on Jaisingh Road, near parliament Thana from 10:30 AM to show their solidarity with their cause. On Tuesday, addressing a press conference in the university campus, Pandey said, "I removed my spectacles to show them that I can't see. Still, they beat me up. A student who intervened was also beaten up."
"My friends told me street lights had been switched off and police were beating students. They made me stand on the side of a road, but policemen started nudging me with lathis from behind," Pandey said. He alleged that he was thrown on the road and when he told the police that he is "visually challenged", he reportedly got to hear, "If you are blind, why have you come here to protest".
"India is fighting to save public education. The Centre wants to cut JNU off the mainstream," Pandey said.
Other students also narrated their ordeal at the press conference. "When I was detained, my kurta was pulled and I was picked up by four male policemen. Women students were literally groped and manhandled," Ghosh said.
Another student, Sucheta Talukdar, who was also injured during the protest, levelled similar allegations.
Former students' union president N Sai Balaji claimed that a woman student's foot got fractured during the protest as policemen stomped on her foot. Ghosh said they are protesting a draft hostel manual which does not have clauses for reservation of SC/ST/OBC in hostels.
"It has provision for 10 per cent fee hike every year and the salaries of contractual workers will be paid from the charges being levied on us," she stressed. The Jawaharlal Nehru University Visually Challenged Students Forum demanded an apology from Delhi Police and said they will begin a protest against police atrocities from Wednesday.
(With PTI Inputs)