They struck me with rods, thought I was going to be lynched, says Aishe Ghosh

Jan 06, 2020 11:46 PM IST

New Delhi: “For every rod raised against students, we will reply with debate and discussion,” Jawaharlal Nehru University students’ union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh said on Monday, a day after she was attacked and left bleeding by a mob on the campus.

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Ghosh alleged that the JNU administration colluded with the mob to “disrupt the students’ movement against the hostel fee hike”.

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She also named Ashwini Mohapatra, chairperson of Centre for West Asian Studies (CWAS), and accused him of assaulting students during a protest last week, a charge denied by Mohapatra.

Ghosh also alleged that she had contacted the SHO of the nearest police station, other senior officers and the JNU security staff when she got to know about the mob entering the campus, but she got no response. Ghosh alleged that while some of the ABVP men were from JNU itself, the others had been called in.

JNUSU vice-president Saket Moon also said the students’ body called up the police for two hours, but did not get any help.

Ghosh, who was among the 34 students admitted to the AIIMS and Safdurjung hospitals on Sunday, said she was hit on her head with rods. She said she was attacked while she was walking back to her hostel along with her sister and a fellow Students’ Federation of India (SFI) member.

“They first vandalised a car parked nearby before besieging us. My sister managed to escaped, but my friend and I were caught by the mob. They first struck me on my head with a rod before kicking and thrashing me. I screamed at them that they couldn’t do that, but they didn’t stop,” she said.

Ghosh alleged that some “right-wing professors” and ABVP members were resorting to violence to break their ongoing movement against the fee hike. “They planned an organised attack on students to stop our united movement. They were promoting violence on the campus since the last four or five days, ever since the JNUSU announced its decision to boycott the registration process,” she said.

“We felt that they would lynch us. But then, some more men reached the spot and asked the goons to leave us. They left us bleeding,” Ghosh said.

She also said Ashwini Mohapatra had assaulted students during a protest last week. Refuting this, Mohapatra said, “Why will I manhandle students who don’t want to register? I was just trying to help students who were there to register. I was manhandled by some students who were boycotting the registration,” he said.

“There is a clear nexus between the JNU security and the goons. They (security guards) did not intervene or stop the violence. The Delhi Police also did not come forward to help us,” she said.

On Monday, JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar issued a statement that blamed the violence on students who were agitating over the fee hike and had boycotted the semester registration.

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    Fareeha Iftikhar is a principal correspondent with the national political bureau of the Hindustan Times. She tracks the education ministry, and covers the beat at the national level for the newspaper. She also writes on issues related to gender, human rights and different policy matters.

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