The Delhi Police on Friday named nine students, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, as suspects behind the violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) last week even though it remained tight-lipped on the attack by a masked mob on students and teachers on Sunday evening that left 36 injured. Ghosh received 16 stitches on her head and fractured her left hand in the violence that took place on campus.
At a press briefing, Joy Tirke, DCP, Crime Branch said on January 5 several people, including Ghosh, attacked students on the campus. The police also named Chunchun Kumar, Pankaj Mishra, Waskar Vijay, Sucheta Talukraj, Priya Ranjan, Dolan Sawant, Yogendra Bhardwaj, and Vikas Patel as suspects.
Police alleged that the students were primarily associated with four Left-wing organisations—Students Front of India (SFI), All India Students Federation (AISF), All India Students Association (AISA) and Democratic Students Federation (DSF). Tirke said the parties were against the ongoing winter registration process on the campus that resulted in several scuffles since January 3.
Of the nine, seven belong to left-leaning student organisations while two are affiliated to right-wing students’ body, the police said.
“A large majority of students want to register but the mentioned groups and their sympathizers are not allowing students to do the same,” Tirkey said. He also said that no one had been detained so far but police would begin interrogating the suspects after sending them notices.
Reacting to the charges, JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh said, “I don’t fear anything, I have no done anything wrong. This is all being done to create a narrative, there is no basis behind the charge”. On being named as one of the attackers during the violence, Ghosh said, “I too have evidence of how I was attacked”.
While police have filed an FIR in connection with Sunday’s violence, two more FIRs have been filed over alleged vandalism on campus on January 1 and 4. Ghosh is named in both those FIRs, which were filed by police at Vasant Kunj (North) police station on Sunday night, when the violence on campus was at its peak.
Meanwhile expressing disappointment, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) in a statement said, “Such underplaying of the incidents which shocked the nation and subjected several to extreme trauma is deeply disturbing. It may be noted that till date not even one of the several complaints filed by teachers has been turned into an FIR.”
“Seen in combination with the attempts at the Delhi Police Press Conference to paint the student body which has been agitating against the fee hike for more than 75 days as an unruly mob, these only reinforce suspicions about the role of the Delhi Police on the fateful day,” it said.
Around 100 masked people armed with sledgehammers and rods attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus last week. According to a Delhi Police report, the campus had been on the boil through the day.
Sources said the report stated that between 3.45 pm and 4.15 pm, “about 40-50 miscreants with their faces covered and armed with sticks” barged into Periyar hostel shouting and attacking students. They also smashed windows and damaged doors before the situation was brought under control with police “intervention”, sources said.
Police sources said DCP (Southwest) had visited the campus at 5-5:15 pm, but returned to the main gate as the situation appeared “normal” at the time. The second spell of violence started before 6 pm, when members of the JNU Teachers’ Association and some students had gathered at Sabarmati dhaba for a ‘peace march’. According to eyewitnesses, the protest came under stone-pelting by masked men, who then barged into the nearby Sabarmati hostel and ran riot.
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