New Delhi: Activists were caned, hit on the head, dragged by their hair and slammed to the ground during a rally in support of Hyderabad student Rohith Vemula on Saturday. Their attackers were policemen with canes and unknown men who suddenly emerged during a rally outside the office of the RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP.
A video clip shared widely on social media shows a policeman using all his strength to slap a woman who had shouted at the assault on her fellow protester. The policeman then throws her to the ground.
The RSS has denied that any of its workers were involved.
The protesters had gathered outside the RSS office at Jhandewalan in central Delhi with placards demanding justice for Rohith, the 26-year-old Hyderabad university research scholar whose suicide last month triggered anger and protests among students.
One moment they were shouting slogans and the next, they were being beaten brutally. Screams were heard as policemen chased down activists and beat them.
“We were stopped at the barricade and policemen asked us to use another road. Suddenly a group of men appeared out of nowhere and started thrashing us mercilessly,” a protester said.
In the video, a man is seen attacking a protester who was being held and beaten by two policemen. Instead of stopping the man, the policemen turn away.
The visuals have been posted on social media.
The police say the protesters have been asked to file a complaint and they will investigate.
Rohith Vemula’s supporters allege that two union ministers forced the university to punish and ostracize him for allegedly beating an activist of the BJP’s student wing.