Oxford Union President Resigns after Blind Student Dragged from Debate, Will Delhi Police Chief Follow Him over Assault on JNU Blind Student?
NEW DELHI— Over 50 differently-abled students, many of them visually impaired, from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Wednesday held a demonstration outside the Delhi Police headquarters demanding an apology from the city police chief against the alleged assault by cops on a blind student during a protest earlier this week.
On Monday, during a massive protest by JNU students against hostel fee hike, the police had resorted to lathicharge in order to stop them from marching towards the Parliament. Several students were wounded in the police action. One of them was a blind student Shashi Bhushan. What led to the Wednesday protest was the revelation that Bhushan was kicked allegedly by some cops even after they were told he is blind. During the protest on Monday, when Bhushan was charged by the cops, he told them he is a visually impaired student, then the cops had very insensitively reacted, saying, ‘Andha hai to protest karne kyon aata hai (If you are blind, then why have you come for the protest)?’ He was then kicked on his chest and stomach and thrown on the ground, and the police didn’t help him get his injuries treated, the protesters alleged.
What had Happened at Oxford?
Now contrast the Delhi incident with one that took place in London last month that has now resulted in the resignation of Oxford Union president.
A blind Ghanaian postgraduate student of Oxford University was ill-treated by security personnel at the Oxford Union debate hall on October 17. Ebenezer Azamati, 25, was attending the debate. He went out for a lunch. But when he came back to resume his participation, he was asked to go back as the hall was full. He showed his Oxford Union membership card and told the security he was already attending the debate, but all in vain and as the video of the incident shows he was forcibly dragged out of the hall, leading to huge uproar.
According to The Washington Post, after Azamati’s ejection from the hall, a disciplinary hearing was called by Oxford Union President Brendan McGrath. A complaint was filed against Azamati accusing him of violent misconduct, and his membership was suspended. This action led to fresh protest and more than 50,000 people signed a petition that called for a public apology, reinstatement of Azamati’s Oxford Union membership and McGrath’s resignation as president of the union.
Facing weeks of mounting pressure, McGrath took to the Oxford Union’s Facebook page to apologize profusely and announce his resignation. In a statement on Monday, the Oxford Union admitted Azamati was not guilty in respect of any of the charges brought by the president, and reinstated Azamati’s membership.
Will Delhi Police Chief Follow Oxford Union President?
A delegation of the differently-abled students went inside the police headquarters on Wednesday to submit a list of demands that included an apology from the Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik.
Even though the police have denied any lathi-charge, several students on Monday were seen bleeding from head and ear. A video also showed blind student Shashi Bhushan removing his goggles to show the cops he is blind, yet he was pushed on the ground and allegedly kicked.
The differently-abled students of JNU have sought action against erring cops and an apology from the top cop. Will Delhi Police Commissioner follow Oxford Union President and at least offer apology for the ill-treatment of the visually-impaired student?