Clashes in Kerala Varma college: ABVP member assaulted by SFI over seminar on CAA

SFI says that the incident that was caught on camera was not an isolated one and that their members were beaten up first.
Clashes in Kerala Varma college: ABVP member assaulted by SFI over seminar on CAA
Clashes in Kerala Varma college: ABVP member assaulted by SFI over seminar on CAA
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Members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) unit of Sree Kerala Varma College in Thrissur district of Kerala were assaulted by Students Federation of India (SFI) activists a few days after the former organised a seminar in support of the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act or CAA. Three members of ABVP have been injured and are hospitalised, while many other students have suffered injuries.

According to reports, the ABVP tried to organise a seminar in favour of CAA on the campus on Monday. However, the SFI members interrupted it, and there was a clash between the two units. Later, the ABVP organised the seminar on the road, right outside the college.

Two days later, on Wednesday, the ABVP unit called for a strike for not being allowed to hold the seminar on campus and against the attack on one of its members on Monday. The clash between the two groups, on Wednesday, broke out when the ABVP member entered a classroom, asking students why they were not participating in the strike. Seeing this, some of the SFI members in the classroom dragged the member to the verandah and started thrashing him.

In a video that has surfaced from the Wednesday morning brawl, a student identified as Rahul, an ABVP member, is seen being chased by a group of students. They pin him to a wall and hit him on his head and body multiple times. Faculty members are then seen separating the two groups.

A few female students reportedly tried to intervene and break up the fight. However, in the process, they also suffered injuries.

While SFI is the students’ organisation affiliated to the CPI(M), ABVP is affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Incidentally, Kerala Sree Varma College is an SFI dominant campus.

Speaking to TNM, Anagha, Vice President of ABVP unit at Kerala Varma College, said, “We were about to conduct the seminar on Monday, but the SFI blocked us and attacked one of our members, Aromal. Later, however, the issue was resolved and we decided to go on a strike on Wednesday, to protest the attack on Aromal.”

“Akshay, Rahul and Aromal are severely injured and admitted in hospital. A teacher from the History Department has also been injured but he is not ready to give a complaint,” said Anagha.

SFI, however says that the incident caught on camera was not an isolated one and their members were reacting to previous assaults on them. "The video being circulated is only one part of the story. Two days ago, RSS members attacked SFI members and they were hospitalised. The ABVP is trying to use CAA to let RSS members into the campus. This tension has been ongoing and increased after SFI and other students did successful protests against the CAA," SFI Kerala State Committee Secretary Sachin Dev told TNM.

When TNM contacted the Thrissur West Police Station, an official said that the injured students were taken to different hospitals. “We will go to these hospitals and take their statement,” he said. 

According to the Kerala police website, though Thrissur West Police Station is free of major law and order issues, student clashes at Sree Kerala Varma College and Government Law College, the main educational institutions in the station limit, are frequently reported. 

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