Kolkata: A rally in the city by the ultra-left United Students’ Democratic Front (USDF) protesting over the suicide of Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula turned violent on Tuesday.
The demonstrators claimed they were assaulted by Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) activists, a claim which the latter denied.
The USDF activists were staging protests outside the city office of the RSS, holding the outfit responsible for the death of Vemula, who committed suicide on January 17 following his suspension along with four other Dalit students over an alleged clash with a leader of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the RSS.
In video grabs broadcast by TV channels, several RSS and USDF activists were seen engaged in scuffles, with police trying to rein them in. Several of the protesters were also arrested or detained by police.
“We were protesting peacefully, but suddenly a group of RSS activists assaulted us,” said a USDF activist.
Denying the protestors were assaulted, the RSS blamed the police for the melee.
“The allegations of assault are false, rather it’s the police who are to be blamed. The police preferred to be mute spectators and did nothing to control the protestors,” RSS state secretary Jishnu Basu said.
State Bharatiya Janata Party president Dilip Ghosh though justified the RSS’ stand.
“Rohit in his suicide note did not blame anyone rather committed suicide out of depression. Yet people are politicising the issue and blaming the BJP.
“Nobody has the right to create trouble at anybody’s house. When people create trouble, that needs to be given a reply. RSS activists are very restrained and aware who deserves what kind of treatment,” said Ghosh.