‘Masked goons were attacking us’: Horror, anger in JNU over mob violence
The mob vandalised hostel property and cars parked inside the campus. Many students, especially women, locked themselves in hostel rooms to escape the mob.Updated: Jan 06, 2020 08:10 IST
Horror and anger spilled onto the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Sunday when a masked mob unleashed violence on students and teachers.
The mob vandalised hostel property and cars parked inside the campus. Many students, especially women, locked themselves in hostel rooms to escape the mob.
While members of the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) and JNU Teachers Association (JNUTA) alleged that the attackers were from the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (AVBP), the latter denied it.
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JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar issued a statement alleging that it was a clash between two groups of students on the issue of boycotting semester registration.
“At around 4.30pm, a group of students, who are against the registration process moved aggressively from the front of the admin block and reached the hostels. The administration immediately contacted the police .... However, by the time police came, the students who were in favour of registrations were beaten up by a group of agitating students opposing the registration” read the statement.
The JNUSU has been boycotting the registration in view of a hike in the hostel fees by the administration.
At least 23 students, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, were rushed to the AIIMS Trauma Centre and a professor was admitted in Safdarjung hospital. Ghosh, in a video, was seen bleeding from her head and was saying, “I was brutally attacked. I am bleeding and not in a condition to talk.”
According to students and teachers, the attack happened at a “peaceful meeting” called by the JNUTA and backed by the JNUSU. “When we were wrapping up the programme we saw a masked mob approaching with lathis and stones. They started to beat everyone. Many of our students and teachers were injured,” said JNU faculty Avinash Kumar.
A student, who did not wish to be named said, “We could just see them from behind the trees walking towards us. It was when they came close that students panicked. Even before we could realise what was happening, the masked goons were attacking us. It was horrifying and unimaginable,” she said.
Another student, who locked herself inside a hostel room with 10 others for three hours, said, “The mob went on banging the doors and windows of the hostel rooms. We screamed for help,” she said.
In videos and pictures, the mob was seen carrying hammers, rods, lathis and stones. Students at several JNU hostels including Sabarmati, Mahi Mandavi, Kaveri and Periyar complained of attacks and vandalisation.
Later in the evening, the JNUTA announced they would hold a press conference at 9pm outside the university’s main gate. However, street lights on the entire stretch outside the university campus were off for more than three hours and the mob continued to heckle students, passerby and media persons, due to which the press conference did not take place.
A large group of outsiders, including ABVP sympathisers, were also seen outside the campus late on Sunday night. The crowd chanted “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and raised pro-ABVP slogans. Around 500 police personnel were deployed outside the campus to maintain law and order. “There is so much horror among students. We are yet to contact our friends who have locked themselves inside the hostel rooms. There are rumours that students were beaten with hammers and acid,” said Aishwarya, an MA student.
Meanwhile, Durgesh Kumar, president, ABVP JNU unit, said, “Hundreds of those stopping students from registrations beat up about 25 of our members, chasing them from the admin block. They got inside Periyar and Sabarmati hostels and beat our members up. Many members have been admitted to AIIMS and Safdarjung.”
“Two groups of students clashed inside the JNU campus. Police was informed. We conducted a flag march inside the campus. The situation is under control. The injured have been moved to AIIMS,” said Anand Mohan, Joint CP (Delhi Police).