PUDR strongly condemns the violence unleashed by right-wing hoodlums inside Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on the evening of 5 January 2019. A group of around 100 masked goons carrying rods, hammers, canes/lathis among other weapons barged into the closed campus in the evening and violently assaulted students and professors. Doctors at AIIMS Trauma Centre have confirmed to PUDR that thirty-four students with injuries caused by sharp/blunt weapons were treated. The JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh also received severe injuries on the head. Of these thirty-three have been discharged now. Five Professors including Sucharita Sen, Ameet Parmeshwar and Saugata Bhaduri have also been severely hit. The sequence of events points to complicity of the university administration and the police, which stood outside campus gates and enabled the murderous mob to unleash violent assault on students inside the campus.
While the press statement of the JNU administration and reports of some news channels have been calling this a “clash” between the ABVP and left groups, it is sufficiently clear that the attack was one sided, the street lights were turned off, entry was closed, the campus security let a murderous mob enter and even doctors and ambulances were attacked – all under the watch of Delhi Police that stood by as a mute spectator. The police did not apprehend any of the attackers. WhatsApp group messages shared by some news outlets show a careful planning behind the attack. These also confirm the involvement of the ABVP and related individuals in the planning of the attack.
JNU has been witnessing peaceful protests by students against the fee hike. 5 January was the last date of registration for the new semester. The JNU Students’ Union was demanding a roll back of the new fee structure and the ABVP was supporting the administration and encouraging the students to sign up. The attackers were allegedly waiting outside the university since around 4:00 pm and were waiting for somewhat a signal to start the attacks. At around 6:00 pm, the attackers entered the university campus and conducted the attacks till around 8 p.m.
JNUSU twitter confirms that female students had to lock themselves in Sabarmati and Koyna hostels. The masked goons were walking across corridors with rods and sticks. Mahi, Mandvi and Periyar hostels were under siege.
In addition to these attacks, eye witnesses have confirmed that the mob vandalised personal belongings of students, university property and private property on the campus, including cars of professors. Activist Yogendra Yadav and several journalists were heckled and manhandled by Bajrang Dal goons outside the JNU gate.
Four FIRs have been filed concerning the incidents at JNU. Three of these concern the protest actions by the JNUSU in connection with their demand for withdrawal of the fee hike and name the JNUSU President and other students for vandalism in the campus, curiously filed after the hoodlum attack. The fourth FIR includes the hoodlum attack but fails to record the murderous attack under section 307 IPC (attempt to murder). This FIR has been registered suo moto by the police despite the fact that a number of those grievously injured and other witnesses to the attack were available. The sequence of events mentioned in the FIR is contrary to the accounts available to us and attempts to obfuscate the issue.
In the light of the above, PUDR demands:
- Registration of an FIR on the basis of witness accounts taken from those seriously injured.
- Registration of FIR against Delhi police into the shameful criminal inaction and deliberate acts of omission that reek of complicity on the part of the police.
- Independent and impartial inquiry monitored by retired judges into the incident of 5 January.
Radhika Chitkara and Vikas Kumar