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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Battered, bruised, unbroken, JNUSU head Aishe Ghosh says will fight on

Ghosh told The Indian Express that she saw the attack on her and the university as “nothing but an attempt to break the movement against fee hike, which has been peacefully on for almost 70 days”.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | January 7, 2020 1:37:49 am
JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, who was discharged from AIIMS early Monday morning. She received 16 stitches on her head apart from treatment for bruises to her back and hand. (Express photo: Tashi Tobgyal)

Draped in a shawl, with a plastered arm and a bandage on the head, JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh had trouble eating food on her own Monday. Her younger sister helped her as she recuperated in the flat of a faculty member in the campus, after receiving 16 stitches on her head and bruises on her waist.

Ghosh told The Indian Express that she saw the attack on her and the university as “nothing but an attempt to break the movement against fee hike, which has been peacefully on for almost 70 days”.

“I see this as an attempt to murder, nothing less. This was targeted violence to break our resolve and movement. If the V-C has any sense of morality, he should resign,” said Ghosh, admitting that despite the violence in Jamia, she never imagined that “RSS goons” would be given a free hand on the JNU campus.

Recollecting Sunday’s events, Ghosh said the JNUSU was campaigning in School areas for the registration boycott when she started getting news of individual students being beaten up by lathi-wielding men near the yet to be unveiled Vivekananda Statue.

“I immediately sent messages on WhatsApp groups, telling people not to take that route. By 3 pm, after discussing with Saket (JNUSU V-P), I also messaged the SHO and ACP asking them to send police. I spoke with them on the phone as well, and they assured me that the masked men had been removed from campus,” she claimed.

Ghosh said she then went to the Sabarmati T-point where the JNUTA programme for peace on campus was on. As news of masked men beating up people started, she initially told students not to panic and stay together.

“But two minutes later, there was indiscriminate assault by 70-80 people. I was with my friend Nikhil (Matthew) at the time. They targeted us and beat us up. They said ‘yahin kaat denge, yahin maar denge’. The first blow landed at the back of my head. I thought they would hit us once and leave, but they kept hitting my head. I didn’t even realise I was bleeding till I saw blood trickling down my face,” she said.

“I realised that the more we stood up to them, the more they would hit us. So I told Nikhil, ‘let’s just fall down’. After a point we sat down so they would stop hitting us. Then they finally left. My hands were not moving enough to even pick up the phone, which was soaked in blood, and call for an ambulance. A student did that for me,” she said.

Ghosh was discharged from AIIMS at 4 am Sunday: “The attack on me is an attack on all 8,000 students of the university.”

Meanwhile, her father Debasish Ghosh said: “Today, my daughter was attacked, tomorrow someone else will be targeted. We want strong action against those who carried out the attack.” He also demanded the V-C’s resignation.

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