New Delhi: January 5, 2021 Tuesday marked one year since the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus witnessed hundreds of people armed with sticks and iron rods, selectively unleashed indescribable terror against the students and teachers.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU), in a statement issued here on Tuesday, described the incident as "targeted assault on activists of organisations other than the ABVP and those who opposed their vile ideology on the campus."
Back in January 2020, the campus was witnessing a massive students "Anti-Fee Hike" protest was undergoing. The students were relentless in their strike against the administration decision to raise hostel fees, "exorbitantly."
The protest resulted in clashes between the student groups. The JNUSU alleged that the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, had orchestrated the attack on January 5, 2020.
"A peace gathering called by the JNUTA, in which the JNUSU and student community were present, was subjected to stone pelting and then a murderous assault with sharp weapons, iron rods and clubs," the JNUSU statement reads.
Several students and teachers including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh and Professor Sucharita Sen were almost mob lynched and brutally attacked on head and hands.
"That it was a pre-planned attack is of no doubt with multiple photographs and videos of the ABVP goons available, including those of ABVP DU member Komal Sharma. Her own admission of having participated in the violence had also gone viral," the statement says.
The students had also alleged that the masked group seemed to know which rooms belonged to Kashmiri and Muslim students in particular.
Room numbers 156 and 157 of the hostel, occupied by Kashmiri students, were ransacked completely. "Around 7.30-8 pm, a handful of people entered the hostel with sticks and rods. Our room's glass panel on the top of the doors were broken first," said a Kashmiri student
The union alleged that the university administration, its Cyclops security, and the Delhi Police of being hand in hand behind the violence.
It is pertinent here to recall that the First Information Report that Delhi Police registered on the violence recorded that the police failed to arrest even one attacker, though they remained spectator when 50-60 masked people entered the campus with arms.
"A year later today, nobody knows where they went, where they are. I had asserted then that we are open to investigation and have faith in the judicial system and I still stand by it," Aishe Ghosh said on Tuesday.
Moushumi Basu, associate professor and a member of JNUTA, recalled the day as "a shock, something that has never happened in the university".
Basu also accused the Delhi Police of giving itself a clean chit and held the administration accountable for not taking any action against the security agency after the incident.
"In the entire agenda of the executive council meeting in November last year there was no mention of this specific incident. So I raised the matter that I would like to know what action has been taken against the Cyclops security agency.
"The vice chancellor just wouldn't answer and started talking about other things," Basu said.
Delhi Police had then claimed that nine students seven of whom are from Left leaning bodies including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh were identified as suspects in the violence in the varsity campus but did not name any group yet for the brutal attack that left 36 injured.
Based on the preliminary findings in the probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the police, pictures of the nine suspects were released. The police also claimed that the January 5 violence was a fallout of the online registration process and that tension was brewing in the university since January 1.
No arrest has been recorded so far in connection with the incident, videos and pictures of which have gone viral.
After huge pressure and controversy over inaction and the Vice-Chancellor not meeting the students and teachers injured in the violence, the university administration had set up a five-member committee to probe the incident. However, the internal probe had been shelved "as the police was already doing its investigation," according to Indian Express.
A senior police officer said, "Three FIRs were registered in connection with JNU violence. All these cases are under investigation right now. Some of the suspects were named in the FIRs but amid the COVID-19 pandemic, our investigation also got affected but all these cases are being investigated."
The JNUSU said that despite the violence, the student community has resisted the administration and "did not falter in the Anit-Fee Hike movement.
"Just as in the other campuses, in JNU as well, this attack is still being resisted by the students movement. This is a clear message to the lapdog ABVP, the nefarious JNU administration and their masters in the central government that our slogan now remain as it was then – Not An Inch Back," the JNUSU said.