PANICKY COPS STOP MEVANI, UMAR KHALID FROM ATTENDING STUDENTS’ EVENT

Senior journalist Nikhil Wagle, who was present at the Juhu police station, said he witnessed a frightened government. “Did you ever see a frightened government? I saw one at Juhu and Santacruz police station. Is Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis afraid of students exercising their basic democratic rights?” he asked.

Juhu and Santacruz police stations on Thursday turned into sites of raucous students’ protest after cops used brute force to prevent Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and JNU leader Umar Khalid from speaking at a national summit of students at Bhaidas Hall in Vile Parle.

Hundreds of students were arrested as they raised slogans questioning the police’s decision to deny Chhatra Bharti – a left-leaning students’ body – permission to hold a lecture series where Mevani, Khalid, former Allahabad University leader Richa Singh, and another JNU leader Pradeep Narwal were among the speakers.

Parallely, the cops spent the day hunting for Mevani and Khalid against whom an offence has been registered in Pune for delivering provocative speeches at Yelgar Parishad, an event commemorating the defeat of Peshwa forces by a British army unit comprising mainly Dalit soldiers.

While Khalid and Mevani never made an appearance at the Juhu venue, hundreds of students, including Richa Singh and Member of Legislative Council Kapil Patil, who was one of the organisers, were arrested when they defied the cops and tried to go ahead with the scheduled programme.

But the police did not know what they had coming their way when they bundled protesting students into vans and took them to the Juhu police station. The police station was soon echoing with anti-government slogans and songs even as more students gathered outside.

No amount of tea and biscuits offered to the students alongside promises of them being let off soon only if they maintained silence worked. As the volume of sloganeering grew with tambourines and drums coming out and protest songs like “Sarkar hamse darti hai, police ko aage karti hai” ringing in the premises, the police decided to take some of them to the Santacruz police station.

The students continued raising slogans at the Santacruz police station. Tired, police officers finally allowed all the students detained at the two police stations to go at 4 pm.

Chhatra Bharati organisers said the police were informed about the Bhaidas Hall event a month in advance. However, nervous after Wednesday’s protests, the cops decided to deny permission at the last moment.

Thursday, in fact, was the second day of the convention. “The first day went just fine. It is obvious that the government wanted to prevent Mevani and Umar Khalid from speaking,” said an organiser who did not wish to be identified.

At a press conference later in the day, Chhatra Bharati announced that the same event with the same set of speakers will be held online on January 10.

Describing the clamp-down as an emergency like situation, Richa Singh said: “This was an undemocratic and dictatorial act by the state. Our mobile phones were snatched away. The police did not inform us if we were detained or arrested. The BJP government feels threatened by students,” she said.

Senior journalist Nikhil Wagle, who was present at the Juhu police station, said he witnessed a frightened government. “Did you ever see a frightened government? I saw one at Juhu and Santacruz police station. Is Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis afraid of students exercising their basic democratic rights?” he asked.

Samata Shinde, a student from Osmanabad, said she was willing to face police action. “We have gathered here for a cause,” she said.

Lokesh Late, a Mumbai student, said: “One of the subjects to be discussed was the shutting down of 1,300 schools in Maharashtra. Why should a discussion of this nature be stopped is beyond me,” he said.

Mumbai Police spokesperson Deputy Commissioner of Police Sachin Patil said 112 students were detained under the Mumbai Police Act. Sachin Patil, however, said over 700 students were taken into custody.

 

Source: mumbaimirror

Senior journalist Nikhil Wagle, who was present at the Juhu police station, said he witnessed a frightened government. “Did you ever see a frightened government? I saw one at Juhu and Santacruz police station. Is Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis afraid of students exercising their basic democratic rights?” he asked. Juhu and Santacruz police stations on Thursday turned into sites of raucous students’ protest after cops used brute force to prevent Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and JNU leader Umar Khalid from speaking at a national summit of students at Bhaidas Hall in Vile Parle. Hundreds of students were arrested as…

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