File photo of Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The violence in the university and its Sabarmati Hostel had left over 20 injured including Ghosh, whose pictures with a bloodied forehead went viral on social media and created outrage among students across the country.
- Last Updated: January 04, 2021, 22:52 IST
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A year after a mob entered the JNU campus, damaged property and left many bleeding, students and teachers are still waiting for the police and the varsity administration to bring to justice those responsible for the incident that had sparked nationwide protest. On January 5 last year, a mob of masked men stormed the campus and targeted students in three hostels, unleashing mayhem with sticks, stones and iron rods, hitting inmates and breaking windows, furniture and personal belongings.
While clamour grew for the removal of JNU Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar after the incident, Delhi Police came under attack for not acting when the mob was running riot on the campus, and especially for naming student union leaders, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh in the two FIRs related to vandalism on the campus. No arrest has been made so far in connection with the incident, videos and pictures of which have gone viral.
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.”
JNU Students Association and JNU Teachers Association are organising “an evening vigil” at varsity’s Sabarmati Dhabha on Tuesday to mark one year of the attack. “They named me as a suspect in the incident within two days and we are here a year later. There has been no word on those who were openly seen with sticks to attack and faces covered,” Ghosh, president – JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU), who also suffered injuries during the attack, said. The violence in the university and its Sabarmati Hostel had left over 20 injured including Ghosh, whose pictures with a bloodied forehead went viral on social media and created outrage among students across the country.
While the JNU administration had said in a statement that “masked miscreants armed with sticks were roaming around, damaging property and attacking people”, the Left-backed JNUSU and the Right-leaning ABVP blamed each other for the violence that continued for nearly two hours. “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,” Ghosh added.
Moushumi Basu, associate professor and a member of JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA), recalled the day as “a shock, something that has never happened in the university”. Basu alleged that the Delhi Police for giving itself “a clean chit” in the case as there has been no breakthrough even as the incident was widely reported by the media and several videos allegedly from inside the campus surfaced on the social media.
“The miscreants were identified and yet after a year they remain unidentified. There has been no breakthrough. The Delhi Police has sort of given itself a clean chit. It’s just very shocking that the coronavirus pandemic has just helped these people sit over this case,” Basu said. Basu also held the university 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.
Addressing a press conference, Joy Tirkey, DCP (Crime Branch), who is heading the SIT, had then said the Student Federation of India (SFI), All India Students Association (AISA), Democratic Students Federation (DSF) and All India Student Federation (AISF) had been allegedly “creating nuisance and threatening the students” against the online admission for the winter semester in the varsity.