By Quaid Najmi
Wardha, Apr 1 (IANS): In a shocking incident, over two activists of a right-wing group and some goons barged into the Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya (MGAHV) around midnight and attacked a PhD Dalit student sitting on an indefinite protest there, student leaders said here on Saturday.
The PhD scholar, Rajneesh Kumar Ambedkar, 37, and his classmates were attacked by the horde of miscreants who raised slogans of 'Jai Shri Ram' and attempted to break the five-day protest at the prestigious 25-year-old Central university named in honour of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi.
According to scholar activists like Chandan Saroj, though there was security at the campus and the main gate was closed, some outsiders and miscreants managed to sneak inside, joined their associates of a right-wing student union on the campus and indulged in violence on the scholars sitting on protest there.
A Dalit researcher, Ambedkar and others are on an indefinite sit-in strike against the MGAHV, demanding the evaluation of his PhD thesis, but the varsity management has not responded in the matter.
Saroj said that on the night of Friday-Saturday, the 'saffron goons' stormed inside the campus, started slapping, beating, kicking and punching the protestors, and hurled obscene, casteist abuses at them throughout the fracas.
When other students tried to click pictures and videos of the incident, they grabbed their mobiles and deleted them, and even threatened with consequences if they continued to record the ruckus in the darkness.
Some students summoned the Wardha Police which soon rushed a team there and brought the situation under control around 4 a.m.
Ambedkar said that at least five students were hurt in the scuffle and a few more sustained minor injuries even as the attackers fled away after the police entry.
When contacted, an official Spokesperson for MGAHV told IANS that some students had taken an 'unauthorised' religious procession on the campus late last night and were raising the 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans.
The Spokesperson also confirmed that later, they attacked the Dalit students holding their protest though it was dispersed later.
He added that the situation is "fully under control now, though other top varsity officers were not available for comments despite repeated attempts".
"We strongly condemn this dastardly attack by saffron group's thugs on Dalit researchers and scholars who are fighting for their legitimate demands and against caste bias perpetrated by the university administration," said Ambedkar.
He and others have demanded that the Wardha Police take note of this "terror" strike on the students and book the culprits on charges of attempted murder forthwith.
Soon after the attacks, the varsity administration urged Ambedkar and others to call off their indefinite protest in view of the delicate situation, but they were spurned and the agitation continues for the sixth day today (April 1).
The students have called upon the Wardha Police and other Dalit and democratic organisations to identify the 'masterminds behind the attack' and the alleged role of the varsity behind the attacks that has rattled the campus residents.
A Central University set up by an act of Parliament, the MGAHV was established in 1997 on a 200-acre campus in Wardha, fulfilling the cherished dream of Mahatma Gandhi to promote Hindi as the national language and give it a status of an international language.