Delhi Police Prevents Peaceful Protest in Front of Israeli Embassy – Students, Others, Injured and Detained

A Tale of Two Protests, On Two Days.

Protests against the situation in Gaza have been held in Delhi yesterday, (Sunday, 13th July, and today, 14th July, in the morning). Yesterday, on Sunday morning, there was a peaceful protest in front of the Israeli Embassy – this came out of a call for protest by individuals. Yesterday, about a hundred odd people, including many young people, had gathered. I was present at this gathering. Some people made statements condemning the Israeli state’s aggression against the Palestinian people. The Delhi Police was present, but did not try to disrupt or disturb the protest. The protest happened right in front of the Israeli Embassy gates on Aurungzeb Road.

Protestor in front of the Israeli Embassy in Delhi on Sunday, 13th July 2014
Protestor in front of the Israeli Embassy in Delhi on Sunday, 13th July 2014
Protestors with Signs against Israeli State's Aggression on Gaza, in front of the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, 13th July, 2014
Protestors with Signs against Israeli State’s Aggression on Gaza, in front of the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi, 13th July, 2014

Today, another protest was scheduled, once again in front of the Israeli Embassy, at exactly the same spot as yesterday’s protest, and this was organized by students from Jawaharlal Nehru University, and from Delhi University. I was not present at this gathering, but spoke to some people who were there on the phone before uploading this post. Some of those who were present at yesterday’s protest, including, for instance, Akbar Chowdhury, president of the JNUSU, had planned to be there at this protest too. The protestors, comprising mainly students, were stopped, arbitrarily, first quite far away from from the venue.

JNU Students Trying to Cross Barricades Put Up by Delhi Police to Prevent them from reaching the Road in front of the Israeli Embassy in Delhi. 14th July, 2014
JNU Students Trying to Cross Barricades Put Up by Delhi Police to Prevent them from reaching the Road in front of the Israeli Embassy in Delhi. 14th July, 2014 (Photograph by Jean-Thomas Martelli, from his Facebook Post)
Student Protestor being Manhandled by Policeman, in front of the Israeli Embassy in Delhi, 14 July, 2014. Photograph by Jean-Thomas Martelli (from his Facebook Post)
Student Protestor being Manhandled by Policeman, in front of the Israeli Embassy in Delhi, 14 July, 2014. Photograph by Jean-Thomas Martelli (from his Facebook Post)

There was very heavy police presence. Some protestors managed to cross the barricades put up by Delhi police, and reached the venue and sat down. They were negotiating with the police, asserting that it would be a completely peaceful protest with some statements, slogans, and singing and that there was no intention on anyone’s part to enter or attack the embassy premises in any way. Suddenly, as this was going on, some police personnel began attacking the protestors who were sitting on the road, and began dragging them. Then, all the protestors began being attacked with batons. Kavita Krishnan, general secretary of the All India Progressive Womens Association, who was present at the gathering who was raising a slogan even as she was being dragged away was hit on her lip with a policewoman’s helmet. The protestors, including Kavita Krishnan, and Akbar Chowhury, president of the Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union and an activist with the AISA (All India Students Association) who was present at the gathering have also been taken there are at present being detained at the Tughlaq Road police station.

Kavita Krishnan, Tweeting from Tughlaq Road Police Station
Kavita Krishnan, Tweeting from Tughlaq Road Police Station

The police has been violent and abusive with the protestors, they have been beaten, several protestors have injuries, though apparently, no one is in a critical condition. Around fifty of them are still in detention, as I write, in the Tughlaq Road police station.

When a news team from CNN-IBN reached Tughlaq Road Police Station and tried to interview Kavita Krishnan at the Police Station gate, she was dragged in by police personnel who were present and prevented from completing her statement to the news team.

What is it that makes the Delhi Police behave so differently on two successive days at the same place?

1. Is it because a protest on a Sunday, when the embassy is shut, and the city quiet, is considered harmless, and a protest on a Monday when the embassy is open and the media active, considered inadmissible.?

2. Or, is it because the Delhi Police’s by now familiar hostility towards any gathering featuring the presence of left wing student groups, especially from JNU, kicked in today, almost like a natural reflex.Yesterday’s gathering did have some of the same students present, but it was not called by them. The call for today’s protest went out on the facebook pages of JNU students. It is noticable that everytime JNU students have tried to protest in the city on any issue, in the recent past, they have been prevented from doing so, with force, by the Delhi Police. Police reach the gates of the university to try and ensure that the students do not leave. And when that fails, they try and stop, divert and detain them on their way to the protest venue. This is becoming a regular pattern.

3. Or is it because, orders have come from ‘above’ that say no one can will be allowed to speak about Palestine in front of the Israeli Embassy in Delhi any longer.

Or, is it a combination of all three factors above?

When large peaceful protests with thousands of people can happen in London and New York in front of Israeli embassies and consular facilities, why does a gathering of a hundred odd peaceful young people in front of the Israeli Embassy invite batons, abuse and detention in a police station ?

See Also –

The Memory of Fifty Seven Seconds: After Watching an Israeli Missile Strike in the Gaza Strip on Al Jazeera

 

16 thoughts on “Delhi Police Prevents Peaceful Protest in Front of Israeli Embassy – Students, Others, Injured and Detained”

  1. Its high time these marxists are thrown into jail. Where were the protests when kashmiri pandits were being massacred in kashmir???

    1. This is all a publicity stunt of the left to try to show that they are not “irrelevant” in the national scene as many people now consider them to be after the last elections!. while it is needed to show that there are alternatives to the now widely prevalent right wing discourse in the centre and most states; such attempts by the left only end up making them look more pseudo in the minds of the common man!..while protesting against Israel’s aggression is necessary i think the left needs to do it in a manner that doesn’t make them look like people who are out there campaigning for far away causes while the common man in India has different problems!..the current tendency of the left intelligentsia has only made the common man ask where they were when China or Russia does aggression or when Hindus face aggression in Kashmir and Christians in Orissa!

  2. Did JNU students protest when the Russians invaded Ukraine or when the Chinese Govt. banned fasting during Ramzan in their country. ?

  3. People are saying that because they didn’t organize it legally. They didn’t inform about a protest being held prior. The police were informed only about the one taking on Sunday.
    Permission wasn’t obtained for the one on monday.

    Is it true?

  4. Or maybe it was because another Israeli diplomat was violently attacked and security had to be stepped up? Under international convention, it is Delhi Police’s responsibility to protect the people working at embassies.

  5. 13th protest wasn’t organised by any individual, it was organised under the banner of ‘Indian People in Solidarity With Gaza’. And in every group or organisation some people coordinate the events, that doesn’t mean it was organised by them.In media report it’s wrongly mentioned that it was organised by me.

  6. Writers ,activists and ordinary people are absolutely right in condemning Israel . Israel is showing monumental barbarity in dealing with Palestinians and must be condemned. I fully support this protest against Israeli aggression.

    BUT , its curious to note that same Kafila writers/activists/protesters have ONLY silence to offer in cases like Boko Haram terrorist kidnapping christian girls or killing hundreds of Christians in Nigeria or many instances of persecution of Christians and other minorities in Arab world for eg. Coptic Christians in Egypt or other numerous acts of Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism. No rallies against them . No protest marches against such brutality.

    Silence of leftists EVERY SINGLE TIME when Muslims are perpetrators of massive violence at different places is stunning and shows the double standards that exist in their world view.
    Its almost like “Muslims” are the only group approved by the Indian leftists who can be victims and deserve to be defended.

    1. Ricky John, I am not sure what I have to say will make sense to a closed mind but there are a couple of simple points that I want to make with respect to your comment:
      1. We do not write on every topic on earth – sometimes simply because we do not have enough information but sometimes because on matters like what you refer to (“when Muslims are perpetrators of massive violence”), there is surfeit of noise across the media, Indian as well as Western. Simply adding to that noise which routinely conflates (as your comment does) violence by terrorists (of Islamic persuasion) with Muslims in general is not our mission in life. As you would have seen in our posts on Israel, even in the worst of times, we make it a point to separate Zionism and Israel from Jews and Judaism in general. That is our politics. We do NOT believe ordinary people – Hindus, Muslims or Jews (or anybody else, for that matter) are given to violence.
      2. This does not mean that we do not have a position on Islamic terrorism – as on any terrorism. We have always opposed all kinds of mindless violence (right here in our kafila posts) that speaks in the name of a larger cause – from Maoism to Islamism. Unlike others, of course, we do not fool ourselves about the myth of Hindu tolerance and speak up equally against Hindu terrorism that has lately manifested itself in a number of incidents. Since we live in India, we have to take the intolerance in our own society more seriously, just as the Leftists and many believing Jews in Israel are out in the streets protesting against the intolerance of their own society and state, facing fascist attacks in the process. Similarly, it is the Leftists in Pakistan (or left-liberals, if you please) who stand up routinely against the ISI and the Pakistan military as they do against the Taliban. You could see the posts on Kafila on Hamid Mir and Malala or earlier posts like the one of the flogging of a young woman by Taliban in Swat, for starters. Raza Rumis, Hamid Mirs and Beena Sarwars are to intolerance in Pakistan what Leftists (some of whom are Kafila) are to intolerance in India.
      3. Finally, forums like Nigerians United Against Terrorism are no different from the ones that organize the demonstrations against Israeli attacks here in India – coalitions of Leftists, liberals, believers, all coming out in the face to attacks from their own compatriots. Take this from a report in the Telegraph (UK):

      The protests meanwhile have grown to involve activists and campaign groups, who have sought meetings with senior figures in Jonathan’s administration, including the president himself.
      But on Wednesday last week, the high-profile marches descended into violence after scores of young men attacked women protesters, throwing chairs, bottles and stones.

      So, let me say one thing, in conclusion: Leftists everywhere are the ones who take the risks of standing up for their convictions and not take the easy way of joining in mass hysteria in their respective societies which pits one section of a population against another on the basis of imagined fears. This will not make any sense to people who are constituted by resentment and hatred.

      1. Finally a sensible reply to people asking about “oh you are doing this now, why didnt you do that” every time people try to do something good. That is the lamest, most mindless thing somebody can say if you ask me.

  7. Any conversation on “Israeli genocide of Palestinians”, from an Indian perspective, should necessarily examine the larger context of the Middle East. With an American withdrawal from the region officially communicated in almost as many words, Indian security and trade interests are even more vulnerable. the entire region is swept by a wave of Islamism pulling in Indian nationals now. ISIS have documented membership of Indians, both resident and non-residents. Outfits like Indian Mujahideen are collaborating with Arab militias fighting myriad pan islamic causes. No wonder, even an outfit so ostensibly removed from India as ISIS puts India in their cross-hairs.

    Any discussion on Israel needs to examine this strategic backdrop as much as the specific c case of Israeli actions, and our “protests” against them. Do we want the Islamist movements to prevail in the ME ? Or do we want them to be confronted there?

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