January 7, 2020 2:22:28 am
From a South Korean teacher and her schoolgoing son to an Urdu teacher and the wife of a former teachers’ association secretary — Sunday’s attack in JNU by masked intruders also targeted a number of faculty members, their families and homes.
At the New Transit House, which has 25 homes of faculty members, teachers said the “intimidation and violence” began around 7.30 pm-8 pm.
Kumari Neelu, wife of former JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) secretary Bikramaditya Choudhary, said she had stepped out of her home for a walk around 7.30 pm when she saw a crowd of about 40 people in the distance with sticks and iron rods.
“I immediately turned around and started walking back. Suddenly, they picked up pace and started running, I also ran,” she said.
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Choudhary, who stays on the first floor, said he heard his wife screaming, asking him to open the door on the ground floor. “I immediately opened the door and let her in. We could hear them banging on the doors in our area. Both my wife and I made multiple calls to JNU officials and police, but nobody did anything. There was no response,” he said.
Across Choudhary’s residence, Myung-e Lee, Visiting Faculty at the Centre of Korean Studies, said the attackers opened the door of her house and barged in.
“They were hitting out with sticks, our windows were shaking. My son, who is a class IX student, opened the door and they came in. They said they were looking for someone specific, and when they didn’t find them, they left,” she said, adding that most of the intruders were not masked, and that at least one of them had identified her.
Lee and her son Jeon Jin Kim said the attackers then banged on the adjacent door for almost 10 minutes. “They used my steel shoe rack to try and break open that door; I could hear them planning to use flower pots,” said Lee.
Urdu teacher Shiv Prakash, who was with his wife and two children at their home on the ground floor, said the intruders barged in and threatened him.
“At around 8 pm, we heard them scream, ‘Darwaza kholo, varna tod denge (Open the door, or we will break it). Then they broke the latch, and came in. We ran to the bedroom but they followed us inside. I asked them why they were doing this, they said, ‘Surrender kijiye (You should surrender)’. I don’t know whether they were Left or Right, but it was very scary,” he said.
Hearing the commotion, two sons of a professor who lives right across from Prakash, opened their door.
“As they saw us, they rushed towards our house. I tried to stop them by pushing them, but one of them came inside. He went with a stick in his hand to every room. He said, ‘Yahan koi Sanghi to nahi hai (Is there a Sanghi inside)’? Then they left,” said the elder son, who did not wish to be identified.
Choudhary alleged that asking for ABVP members or ‘Sanghis’ was “a deliberate tactic”. “Why would Left students come to our home looking for ABVP people? Why would we hide them? Everyone knows us. This was deliberately done as a tactic,” he said.
Former JNUTA president Sonajharia Minz and Saugata Bhaduri, who were injured in stone pelting at the Sabarmati T Point Sunday, also suggested that it was a targeted attack.
“After I was hit by a stone the size of half-a-brick, I turned and saw that Saugata was on the floor being beaten. But then I heard someone say, ‘Chhod do, yeh woh nahin hai (Leave them, these are not those people)’. This suggests they were looking to attack someone specifically,” said Minz.
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