New Delhi: Even as thousands of students joined by their teachers marched at the Delhi University calling for end to right wing 'Gundaism' and attempts to impose curb on dissent, Gurmehar Kaur, the Kargil martyr's daughter left the capital after rape threat.
The marching students and teachers, said to be the largest gathering in recent times, holding placards in their hands shouted slogans and condemned violence on campus, days after clashes at the Ramjas College involving the Akhil Bhartiya Vidayrthi Parishad (ABVP), a BJP-linked students' outfit.
The protesters, including eminent academicians, shouted slogans of "Azaadi" (freedom), calling for a campus free of what they described as "gundagardi" (hooliganism). A large contingent of policemen and policewomen walked alongside the protesters.
The gates of the colleges falling on the route of the march, which began from the gates of Khalsa College, were shut.
"We are marching to reclaim the space to debate and discuss. It is about the freedom to coexist, yet disagree," a student said.
There was heavy police deployment to prevent a rerun of the clashes that were witnessed between ABVP and AISA last week following cancellation of an event at Ramjas College after activists of the RSS-backed students' wing objected to the invitation to JNU student leaders Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid.
One of the faculty members, marching with the students, alleged that the university has been "taken over" and that authorities were not acting to prevent it.
Meanwhile, Gurmehar Kaur, the student who has alleged rape and murder threats over her posts against the ABVP, pulled out of the campaign saying she had taken "all she could".
In a series of tweets, Gurmehar Kaur appealed to others to join the march and wrote, "To anyone questioning my courage and bravery. I've shown more than enough".
Yesterday, ABVP activists organised a 'Tiranga' (Tricolour) march against what they called "anti-national" activities by "left-leaning" students.
The row took a political twist with politicians taking sides. The Left, Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi have backed the students' protest.
On the other hand,Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that Lt Governor Anil Baijal assured that strict action would be taken against the perpetrators of the Ramjas College incident and on alleged rape threats to Kargil martyr's daughter Gurmehar Kaur, after the former met him here this afternoon.
"Met LG Demanded arrest of those who caused violence in DU, shouted anti-India slogans n who threatened Gurmehar. He assured strict action," Kejriwal tweeted.
ABVP has distanced itself from the threats to Gurmehar Kaur.
"We are absolutely against the kind of threats Gurmehar's been getting. So, we have written a letter of complaint to the police, and we urge strict and swift action against those who issued the threat," said an ABVP spokesperson.