The Delhi Police has named Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Aishe Ghosh among nine suspects for violence at the university last week and released their circled photographs to the media. Naming mostly members of the Left-controlled students' union, the police gave few details on the attack by a masked mob on students and teachers on Sunday evening.
Focusing on clashes that took place on the campus before Sunday over increased hostel fees, Delhi Police officials named Aishe Ghosh, Chunchun Kumar, Pankaj Mishra, Waskar Vijay, Sucheta Talukdar, Priya Ranjan, Dolan Sawant, Yogendra Bhardwaj and Vikas Patel. The last two, Yogendra Bhardwaj and Vikas Patel are said to be members of the BJP-linked Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad or ABVP.
Addressing a press conference, senior police officer Joy Tirkey, who is probing the case, said a majority of the students wanted to register for the winter semester from January 1 to 5, but the left students’ groups were not allowing them to do so. Members of Left groups attacked the server room at JNU to stop online registrations and enforce a strike over their protest against the increased fees, said the officer.
Hours after the attack, a large group of masked people armed with iron rods and sledge-hammers entered the campus and attacked students and teachers. Aishe Ghosh was among those who suffered a head wound and was bleeding heavily when she was taken to hospital. None of the attackers was stopped or arrested, even though several policemen were on campus at the time.
The police admitted that it was facing difficulty in identifying those responsible for the attack on Sunday and cited the lack of security footage, authenticated video recordings and witnesses.
Aishe Ghosh, speaking to the media around the same time as the police, denied any role in the violence and accused the police of blatant bias. She said she had gone to the scene to stop the violence. “I was not wearing any masks, I have done no wrong… I still have my blood-soaked clothes,” she said.
The police claims were seized by members of the ruling BJP as vindication, with two union ministers targeting the Left.
Today’s police press conference established that for the last five days the chorus that was created deliberately to blame ABVP, BJP and others, that wasn’t true. It’s the left organisations that pre-planned the violence, disabled CCTVs and & destroyed the server,” said Prakash Javadekar.
His colleague Smriti Irani, a former education minister, tweeted, “Left design in JNU unmasked. They led mobs of mayhem, destroyed public property paid for by taxpayers, disallowed new students from being enrolled, used the campus as a political battleground. #LeftBehindJNUViolence becomes public knowledge as Delhi Police releases evidence.”
The two cases against Aishe Ghosh and other left students for the clashes on Friday and Saturday were filed by the police within a span of four minutes on Sunday evening, shortly after she was taken to hospital bleeding from the attack.
The JNU students’ union has been protesting against a hostel fee hike and had allegedly stormed into the server room to block the registration process on Sunday afternoon. There were clashes between the JNU students and the ABVP at the time.
There were no names in the third FIR, filed in the mob attack. The police has also been accused of letting them slip out of the JNU campus after a three-hour rampage. While JNU students have accused the ABVP of involvement in the attack in their complaints to the police, the student body linked to the ruling BJP has denied any involvement.
Meanwhile, an investigation by a news channel has found that RSS-affiliated Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members were part of the masked mob that perpetrated the violence in JNU on January 5, which left 35 injured.
The two suspects in purported videos, in a sting done by India Today, states that they are ABVP volunteers and varsity students pursuing Bachelors in French. The ABVP has refuted the charges, saying both students who figured in the purported videos are not their members.
In the sting videos, the students are seen admitting that they were part of the violence outside the varsity’s Sabarmati hostel. In one of the videos, another suspect is seen admitting that 20 more ABVP volunteers were part of the masked mob.
A sting was also done on a student affiliated to a left-leaning student body. The former JNUSU office-bearer is seen admitting that she was part of the group that shut down servers at the JNU’s Centre for Information Systems.
An FIR has already been registered in this case but no student has been named as an accused yet.
In a tweet, the woman said, “JNU VC increases our fee a thousand time. He sends punishment letters for demanding the right to education. I myself have received countless such letters. We are fighting for our rights. We are in civil disobedience. That’s what I have said. Nothing to hide.”
Three Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) professors have filed a petition in the Delhi High Court today seeking preservation of evidence including CCTV footage, WhatsApp messages, relevant data and information relating to the January 5 violence that took place in the university campus. The matter is likely to be heard on Monday.
Professors Ameet Parameswaran, Shukla Sawant and Atul Sood sought necessary directions to the Delhi Police Commissioner and the Delhi government.
The professors want relevant data of WhatsApp groups ”Unity against Left” and ”Friends of RSS” retrieved which includes messages, pictures, videos and phone numbers of the members, in connection with the violence at JNU on Sunday evening.
This takes the number of complaints in the case to 14. Around 12 people have contacted the Delhi police and recorded their statements.
However, two cases were filed against Aishe Ghosh, the chief of the JNU students’ union, by the JNU administration on the day of the attack, while she was being treated at AIIMS for her injuries. Ghosh says she was surrounded by 20-30 people, hit multiple times with an iron rod and even “physically molested” while sexual expletives were shouted at her.
CCTV footage was not available because of the damaged server at the university, post which crime branch took the entry register.
The violence at the university, whose students have been actively supporting the protesters against the amended Citizenship Act, triggered a furore across the country with celebrities to political parties condemning the attack.
The police displayed a series of photographs — some of which did not seem to clearly identify the suspects – as proof but gave few details about the mob itself.
“I have complete faith in law and order … we have done no injustice. Let Delhi Police release our footage… we do not become suspects like this. None of our office-bearers have done any wrong,” Aishe Ghosh said.
Focusing on clashes that took place early on January 5, before the mob attack, the cops named Aishe Ghosh and eight others as suspects. Of those named while Ghosh is the President of the Left-controlled students union, Yogendra Bhardwaj and Vikas Patel are reportedly members of the ABVP (the BJP-linked Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad).
The two factions have accused each other of the mob attack.
According to cops, s Ghosh and other members of Left-backed groups attacked the room – while wearing masks – to stop online registrations and enforce a strike against hostel fee hikes.
However, the police have also admitted to difficulties in identifying those responsible for the attacks on campus because of sparse CCTV coverage and the lack of witnesses.
Ghosh, who has repeatedly stressed that the JNU students had protested and would continue to protest in peaceful and democratic ways, has alleged that Union Home Minister Amit Shah, under whose ministry Delhi Police rolls up, had directed cops.
The worst violence is believed to have erupted at Sabarmati hostel.
“It is the Home Minister who directed Delhi Police not to act… they waited for hours not to come inside and the Vice-Chancellor facilitated this entire exercise. He was acting like an ABVP agent,” Aishe Ghosh said.
Late in the evening of January 5 around 70 to 100 masked goons, carrying iron rods and sledgehammers, barged onto the campus of the Jawaharlal Nehru University in southwest Delhi, and went on an unchecked three-hour rampage that left 34 people injured.
Delhi Police was heavily criticised for their conduct during the attack, with many alleging the cops simply stood by and did nothing while the worst of the violence was carried out.
“The police had been in the campus since afternoon, but they did nothing,” Saket Moon, the Vice President of the JNU Students Union, said in the aftermath of the attack
Five days after the violence that rocked the JNU campus, the Delhi Police on Friday released pictures of nine suspects, whom they said included JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh
Addressing a press conference, DCP, Crime, Joy Tirkey said that four of the nine suspects belong to the JNU.
The police claimed that they zeroed in on the suspects after analysing footage obtained from several videos of the violent incident that resulted in injuries to more than 30 students and teaching staff.
Tirkey, who is heading the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe into the incident, said that members of Left-affiliated students wing AISA, AISF, SFI and DSF had tried to obstruct student registrations for the winter semester.
They started creating hurdles in the registration process from January 1 and continued to do so till January 5, which ultimately led to the violence, he added.
Meanwhile, Ghosh and her associates, named by the Delhi Police, have denied the charges.
Ever since January 5, when a group of masked people assaulted students and some teaching staff on campus, JNU has been claims and counter-claims by Left and the RSS-affiliated ABVP over who started the violence on campus.