Masked miscreants armed with sticks roaming around campus, at JNU, in New Delhi, Sunday. (PTI photo)
NEW DELHI: Simmeringtensions in Jawaharlal Nehru University(JNU) escalated into major violence on Sunday evening when masked goons went around the campus, entering Sabarmati and Periyar hostels, and assaulted students and teachers with lathis, rods and hammers. Sources said at least people, including JNU Students’ Union presidentAishe Ghosh, were injured.
The assault by
************** – thugs began around 7pm and soon escalated beyond control, prompting the university administration to call in the police. The attack, coming a day before an expected announcement of assembly elections in the city, immediately led to outrage outside the campus, with hundreds gathering outside the oldDelhi Policeheadquarters at ITO late on Sunday.
Left groups and ABVP blamed each other for the violence even as Union home minster Amit Shah ordered a joint CP-level inquiry and asked for a report as soon as possible. A statement by JNU registrar Pramod Kumar said the violence started around 4. pm when “agitating students” attacked those in favor of registration.
However, many on campus had a different take. They said, around 4pm, there was some violence during a JNU Teachers ’Association march against alleged manhandling of students. “A fight broke out between Left-leaning students and ABVP supporters but ended there. But, around 7pm, masked goons with lathis and rods attacked the protesting students and teachers near Sabarmati. They entered the hostel, broke glasses and beat up anyone in the vicinity. Even teachers weren’t spared, ”said a PhD scholar.
****** Accused of inaction, police say situation now under control …
The goons later attacked students in Periyar hostel and vandalized the place, “the JNU PhD scholar added.
The HRD ministry has sought an immediate report from JNU registrar Pramod Kumar. Till the filing of this report, tension continued in the area with a large number of people gathering in front of JNU’s North gate, shouting slogans and manhandling people despite police presence.
Jawahrlal Nehru University teacher Ayesha Kidwai said : “Teachers are a witness to the violence. It is not a students’ clash but an attack by ABVP. For one and half hour the police did not do anything and now they just want us to confine us. “
Countering the allegations , Durgesh Kumar, president, ABVP JNU unit, said: “Today was the last day of registration in JNU. The leftists have forced an internet shutdown in JNU for the last three days. Hundreds of those stopping students from registration beat up about 50 of our members, chasing them from admin block. They got inside the Periyar and Sabarmati hostels and beat our members up. “
” Many ABVP members have been admitted to AIIMS and Safdarjung and 25 of our members are unreachable. We appeal to the police, JNU administration and the people to control the situation inside JNU and make it a safe place, “added Kumar.
Trouble has been simmering on the campus since January 1, with a blockade of the information center and protesters switching off power supply, rendering the servers dysfunctional and hampering the online registration process. On January 3, the protesting students led by JNUSU alleged that university security and ABVP cadres had manhandled them.
Disturbing images of injured faculty members and students, including professor Sucharita Sen and JNUSU president Ghosh, started going viral on social media. At least Students have been admitted to the AIIMS trauma center. Senior doctors confirmed to TOI that Ghosh was one of them. “She has suffered head injury. We are getting a CT scan do assess the damage, based on which further intervention can be planned, “one of the doctors said.
He added, apart from Ghosh, there were at least eight other patients – all rushed to the hospital from JNU – who had blunt injuries in the chest, leg and other body parts. There were at least five others with minor injuries.
Scenes remained chaotic outside the AIIMS trauma center till late into the night as more and more ambulances carrying injured students kept arriving. Heavy security – half-a-dozen private guards and four policemen – we were deployed at the entrance to prevent the entry of non-injured people.More than 90 people, including students and a couple of professors , had gathered at AIIMS to get a sense of the injuries. Guards had to repeatedly step in to remove the crowd from gathering outside the gates.ABVB and Left Students outside the trauma center could be seen arguing about the attackers from being from the opposite camp. ABVP associated students alleged that injuries to their students were not being highlighted.
According to police, the violence escalated around 5pm when two groups of students clashed with each other on the campus. Around the same time, some masked youths were seen at the campus damaging public and private property.
As per senior police officials, cars, hostel window panes and several other things were damaged. The university authorities will take stock of the situation and submit a report to the police. Cops said they have received complaints about masked men allegedly moving around on the campus who allegedly indulged in violence. Efforts were being made to identify them.
Students complained about “outsiders” entering the university through one of the back gates, which is being probed as well. Police are scanning CCTV footage to identify the miscreants. Police also confirmed that the JNU administration, in a written permission, had requested their intervention to restore law and order inside the campus.
Police entered the campus and conducted various flag marches. “The situation was brought under control and the injured students have been rushed to the hospital. A meeting was also held with the senior officials of the University,” said Anand Mohan, joint commissioner, New Delhi range.
Police also refuted allegations that they were mute spectators to the violence unleashed on students.