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ABVP holds protest march in DU against 'anti-national activities'

Under fire from various quarters after the February 22 Ramjas College violence, the ABVP on Thursday held a protest march in Delhi University here against what it dubbed "anti-national activities".

The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, said the protest march near the DU North Campus' Art Faculty was organised to save the university from "anti-national activities".

Protesters raised slogans like "Vidyarthi Parishad lade chalo (keep fighting, ABVP), "Hindustan mein rehna hoga, Vande Mataram kehna hoga" (To live in this country, you have to say Vande Mataram), "Na Marxwad, na Naxalwad, sabse upar rashtrawad" (nationalism above Marxism and Naxalism).

The students' party demanded strict action against elements who it said supported "anarchism and anti-India propaganda".

"Anti-national slogans were raised on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus by some communist cadres last year. The central and Delhi governments and the Delhi police should conduct an investigation against these people," ABVP Media Convener Saket Bahuguna said during the protest.

"You are free to have conferences and rallies but freedom of expression doesn't mean that you will divide the country. Shouting about Kashmir's or Bastar's freedom is an anti-national action," he said.

He added: "Anybody raising such slogans in DU, JNU or anywhere in the country will have to face the ABVP. If you raise anti-national slogans, we will stand against you."

Delhi University Students Union President Amit Tanwar, Vice-President Priyanka Chawri and General Secretary Ankit Sanghwan of the ABVP echoed what Bahuguna said.

At the protest venue, huge hoardings declaring the All India Students' Association (AISA) to be a "rapist party" were also displayed.

This came as a response to the protest organised by AISA against the ABVP, urging for peace and freedom of expression after ABVP forced the suspension of an event at Ramjas College to be addressed by JNU student Umar Khalid on February 21.

Khalid was jailed last year for allegedly shouting anti-national slogans.

"Rapist AISA, go back!", "Desh 1947 se azaad hai, par vaampanthiyon ki soch wahi (the country has been independent since 1947, but the leftists have the same thinking", the hoardings put up by ABVP in North Campus read.

According to Bahuguna, his party was justified in calling the AISA so "because AISA leader Anmol Ratan was last year jailed for raping a JNU student".

"One ABVP worker indulges in violence and you declare our whole party to be a group of hooligans. Why can't we call AISA a party of rapists?" he questioned.

Many posters and hoardings referred to recent clashes between Communist Party of India-Marxist and Bharatiya Janata Party-RSS workers in Kerala.

"Weapons of communists and their victims. Three students Anu, Sujit and Kim killed by communist and SFI (Students Federation of India)," one of them read.

"Students on the campus are finding these posters scary but they depict the reality. Leftists in Kerala are responsible for killing and mutilating bodies (of BJP-RSS workers). Imagine the horror that these martyrs' families must have felt, after receiving their dead bodies," Bahuguna said.

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