For nearly four hours Sunday — starting 2.30 pm when masked “miscreants” were first seen gathering inside JNU — 23 calls went from inside the campus to the Police Control Room (PCR). And yet, it wasn’t until 7.45 pm that Registrar Pramod Kumar handed over an official letter to Delhi Police, “seeking increased presence and deployment on the premises”.
Sources told The Indian Express that this is the key finding in a police report detailing the sequence of events that day, when around 100 masked persons went on a rampage inside the campus for about three hours starting 6 pm, leaving 36 students, teachers and staff injured.
The report, which has been submitted to Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, is likely to be sent to the Union Home Ministry. Sources said the report records events from 8 am, when 27 police personnel in plainclothes, including women, arrived for duty at the JNU Administration Block and relieved the night shift. “Their job was to ensure compliance with the High Court order directing police to ensure that no dharna or protest takes place within 100 metres of the block,” sources said. They said the team was led by Inspector Anand Yadav and did not have any weapons or lathis. The report, they said, goes on to detail the calls from 2.30 pm.
Editorial | Whose police?
* 2.30 pm-3.30 pm, 1 PCR call: It was an alert about a “quarrel” inside the JNU complex, said sources. The caller referred to “miscreants or students of JNU, mostly with their faces covered with mufflers and clothes” who had “started gathering in small groups around the administration building”. The report, they said, states that police “dissuaded them from entering the prohibited 100-metre area”.
* 3.45 pm-4.15 pm, 8 PCR calls: They were “mainly relating to beating of students at Periyar hostel”. About “40-50 miscreants with their faces covered and armed with sticks” barged into the hostel, shouting and attacking students. They also smashed windows and damaged doors before the situation was brought under control with police “intervention”.
* 4.15 pm-6 pm, 14 PCR calls: They were about “isolated incidents of quarrels and gathering by students”. Sources said when police sought to verify the calls, “no such incident pertaining to quarrels, beating of students and gatherings were found”.
Citing the report, sources said that from 7 pm to 7.30 pm, about “50-60 miscreants” armed with sticks barged into Sabarmati dhaba, around 200m from Periyar hostel, and targeted students. Then, they barged into Sabarmati hostel and assaulted students inside their rooms, and smashed doors and windows. “Police team intervened and asked for reinforcements,” sources quoted the report as saying.
According to the report, sources said, it after the Registrar handed over the “Request Letter” that “further reinforcements arrived and a flag march by senior officers was conducted in JNU”, following which “normalcy was restored”.
Registrar Kumar, when contacted, claimed “police were on campus by 6.30 pm” and that they had been “informally” informed before the letter was submitted. He said Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar had communicated with police around 5.30 pm. He maintained there had been no delay on JNU’s part in calling police.
Speaking to reporters Tuesday, the Vice-Chancellor said: “If there is a law and order situation here… we will see if our own security can handle it. But when it goes out of hand, and we feel the security cannot handle it, we definitely approach the police because we don’t want any innocent people to be injured. On Sunday also, we did this.”