Around 7 pm Sunday, as over 50 people holding sticks and rods vandalised property at JNU’s Sabarmati hostel, police personnel warned them against it on a public address system and asked them to disperse peacefully. The masked men, however, did not stop. Rather, they went on to attack students and managed to escape. This is as per an FIR of rioting lodged at Vasant Kunj (North) police station, based on a complaint by inspector Anand Yadav.
Yadav was stationed at the administrative block since Sunday morning, following the High Court’s directions to deploy personnel to ensure that protests do not happen within a 100 metre radius of the block, where the Vice-Chancellor sits.
Responding to allegations that the police response had been slow and ineffective, Delhi Police spokesperson Mandeep Singh Randhawa said, “We responded to PCR calls as soon as we got them and handled the law and order situation professionally. PCR calls came from hostels that were some distance away about a scuffle between student groups. Delhi Police is normally only deployed at the administrative block and the scuffle happened at far away hostels where we were not deployed.”
Police also rejected allegations of reaching the varsity late despite several pleas from the students’ union. Asked how masked men entered a closed campus, an officer said, “The entry of each person is made at the gate. If a student is accompanied by an outsider, entry is also made. We are investigating how people entered and have seized some material.” Meanwhile, the FIR lodged by inspector Yadav states that “we came to know at 3.45 pm that some students of JNU had gathered outside/at Periyar Hostel and there was a scuffle, where they damaged property. We rushed there and saw people with faces covered with mufflers, and carrying sticks, fighting with some students. They escaped when they saw police.”
At 7.45 pm, police received a written request from the JNU administration to maintain law and order, following which extra force was called to the spot. “When the first incident took place, 20-30 police personnel were present inside campus. Later, 20 police personnel from each police station in the district were called. Another 50 personnel were called around 8 pm with anti-riot gear,” said a police source.
On Monday, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch and the team visited Periyar and Sabarmati hostels. “We found that there were a series of clashes on Sunday. The first clash happened on Sunday at 11 am, and another took place at 2.30 pm followed by a third at around 3.20 pm. The fourth one was more violent when some masked people barged inside Periyar hostel at 4.30 pm. Later, some students of JNU gathered near Sabarmati hostel where they were planning a peace march, but at 6 pm, some masked persons with sticks and rods, entered Sabarmati hostel,” police sources said.
Another FIR, filed in connection with an incident at the JNU server room on Saturday, names JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh and 19 others, accusing them of vandalism. The FIR, registered post 8 pm on Sunday, was filed on the basis of a complaint by the JNU administration that had been filed earlier.
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