JNU violence: One day after attacks, no arrest as Delhi Police remains silent on mob rampage

Published: January 7, 2020 5:30:54 AM

Sabarmati Hostel, which saw maximum property damage in the attack, saw the resignation of its senior warden and warden (recreation), who said they had put in their papers as they were not able to ensure the safety of students. The administration did not confirm if their resignation had been accepted.

JNU, JNU violence, Delhi Police, protest, Aishe Ghosh,Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia Islamia , AIIMS, BJP, RSS, JNU protest, ABVPStudents across the country protest against Sunday’s violence on JNU campus

By Aranya Shankar

Twenty-four hours after masked assailants went on the rampage inside Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), injuring 31 students, two teachers and two guards, Delhi Police are yet to make a single arrest in the case.The police, which had come under fire for storming the Jamia Millia Islamia campus and assaulting students inside its library, remained silent on how roughly 100 men were able to run riot inside the JNU campus for close to  three hours — between 6 pm and 9 pm —despite the first  PCR call being made at 4.57 pm on Sunday.

JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh, who was among the injured and received 16 stitches for her wounds at AIIMS, alleged it was an organised attack, and some “RSS-affiliated professors” were promoting the violence.

Vice-president of the union, Saket Moon, alleged the students’ body called up police for two hours but did not get any help. “It was an organised attack. They were singling out people and attacking. There is a clear nexus of JNU administration, security police and the ABVP vandals. They did not intervene to stop violence,” Ghosh told reporters. “For last four-five days, some RSS-affiliated professors were promoting violence to break our movement. Are we wrong to ask for safety from JNU and Delhi Police?” she added.

On Monday, too, members of the ABVP, some right-wing groups and local supporters started a march around 4 pm on a section of the road near the JNU north gate, but were stopped by police barricades a few metres ahead. By 5 pm, hundreds of people managed to go around the police barricade and made their way to the north gate by going through narrow lanes of nearby colonies. After gathering at the gate, the crowd began chanting slogans such as ‘vaam panth ki ek dawai, joota chappal aur pitai’, ‘Gaddaron ki kabar khudegi, Savarkar ki dharti pe’, ‘Dilli police lath bajao, hum tumhaare saath hain’ and ‘Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalon ko’ as police personnel looked on.

Eyewitnesses to the Sunday attack and many of those injured have said the men belonged to the ABVP — a charge the RSS-affiliated student outfit has denied.
While Ghosh said she sent a text message to a senior police officer about “students being beaten up in the University” at 3 pm on Sunday, DCP (Southwest) Devender Arya said, “The first PCR call was made at 4.57 pm from Periyar hostel.”

Arya claimed the complaint was about “stone pelting by the Left party”, and that a second PCR call was made at 7.12 pm Sunday wherein “the aggressor was the ‘other’ party”. He said a call was also made by JNU administration, and that at 7.40 pm, a written letter was received, requesting entry of police inside campus.
Both teachers and students injured in the violence said no one from the JNU administration had reached out to check on them. “There has been no call or any kind of reaching out from the Vice-Chancellor or anyone from the administration. There hasn’t even been a single message sent,” said professor Shukla Sawant, who was injured during the stone-pelting by masked men.

The JNU vice-chancellor, meanwhile, issued a statement, seeking to link the violence to protests against the hostel fee hike. “The origin of the present situation in JNU lies in some agitating students turning violent and obstructing the academic activities of a large number of non-protesting students. The protesting students damaged the communication servers to disrupt the winter semester registration,” said V-C M Jagadesh Kumar, suggesting that the Left outfits and JNUSU, which have been leading the protests, were to blame. Repeated calls to him remained unanswered Monday.

Sabarmati Hostel, which saw maximum property damage in the attack, saw the resignation of its senior warden and warden (recreation), who said they had put in their papers as they were not able to ensure the safety of students. The administration did not confirm if their resignation had been accepted.

The campus on Monday also saw a press conference called by the JNU Teachers’ Association, which reiterated its demand for the removal of the V-C and said a judicial or judiciary-monitored probe in the incident should take place.

“No more evidence is required that the VC is incapable of running an educational institution… This is terror tactic raised to a different level,” said JNUTA secretary Surajit Mazumdar.

Tamil Nadu MP and VCK chief Thol Thirumavalavan also visited the campus Monday evening and condemned the violence. “Without knowledge of higher authorities, without knowledge of V-C, ABVP goons wouldn’t have done like this. I condemn the brutal attack. The Modi government is responsible for this,” he said.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Swaraj India founder Yogendra Yadav, who was manhandled outside the campus on Sunday night amid police presence, said: “We should not see what happened in JNU as an isolated accident. This is a culmination of a very long trend which started with intellectual attacks on JNU. Then came the political attack on the institute. This is what happened during the Kanhaiya Kumar episode where throughout the country, in collaboration with the media, JNU was attacked as ‘anti-national’. Third was the institutional dismantling done by the current Vice-Chancellor. He was sent basically to change the university’s character and to solve this problem for them (the Centre). And what happened yesterday was the final episode, which is to say physical onslaught.”

The lack of police action in JNU so far has been in stark contrast to its crackdown on the Jamia campus on December 15, when police had stormed the library and lobbed teargas shells on the premises.

One, while the Jamia administration had said police entered without permission from university authorities, in JNU’s case, authorities had themselves made a call was made to police to come and handle the violence.

Second, while over 50 people, including several students, were detained the same day from Jamia and the vicinity, no arrests or detentions had been made in JNU’s case till 24 hours later. Asked why no detentions or arrests had been made till Monday night, DCP Arya said: “An investigation is on and we have footage. We are trying to identify the accused.”

Third, while several students from Jamia were paraded out of campus in a single file with their hands in the air, the scene outside JNU on Sunday night was starkly different — as reported by The Indian Express, dozens of men, their faces covered with mufflers, chanted slogans — “Desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maaro saalo ko”, “Naxalwad murdabad” and “Na Maowad, Na Naxalwad, Sabse Upar Rashtrawad” — not allowing ambulances to reach the campus by puncturing tyres and smashing windows.

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