JNU students union president Aishe Ghosh was among those attacked as goons with “iron rods” went on a rampage at the university campus, the JNUSU said.
Multiple students told HuffPost India that the violence was unleashed from around 7pm in the evening, and shared photos of broken doors and shattered glass at campus buildings.
A mob of more than 100 people, chanting ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’, and other slogans have gathered outside the main gate and attacked an ambulance as it was entering campus. HuffPost India’s Aman Sethi, who is at the spot, saw at least one ambulance leaving the campus earlier in the night.
At least 40-50 Delhi Police personnel wearing riot gear entered the campus on foot. The police were, until now, standing between the mob and the university’s main gate.
Bhatti, former president of the RDA at AIIMS, tweeted 15 students had been admitted to the Trauma Centre at AIIMS with “severe head injuries inflicted through sharp weapons & rods.”
“Two of the student are in serious condition including JNUSU President and are shifted to red area, all the students were brutally beaten,” he wrote.
Students have alleged that the violence was carried out by members of the ABVP and also that the security guards on campus did not prevent the attackers from going on a rampage on the campus.
Men in masks were seen outside the JNU main gate beating up people who took out phones to film the violence.
The violence in JNU has occurred exactly three weeks after the Delhi Police entered the Jamia Millia Islamia campus in the city and brutally attacked students after a protest against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) earlier in the day.
The students of JNU have been on a massive agitation against the administration’s move to hike hostel fees since October.
JNU Chief Proctor Denies Knowledge Of WhatsApp Group
Professor Dhananjay Singh, a professor at the Centre for English Studies, told HuffPost India that he is “trying his best to restore peace” on campus. Singh, who is also the chief proctor of the university, said over the phone, “It is my duty is to ensure that peace prevails and is action is taken against anyone involved in violence. I can only say this much.”
Interestingly, JNU students shared screenshots of conversations from a WhatsApp group titled ‘Friends of RSS’ where multiple users were seen discussing ways to counter ‘left terrorism’. One person identified as Yogendra Shaurya Bhardwaj wrote, “We should get hold of these people and thrash them. There’s just one medicine for them.”
Others are seen discussing entry points through which their activists can enter.
HuffPost India asked Singh if he was aware of these messages since from the group’s screenshot, he seemed to be a part of the group.
Singh denied knowing of these developments and said he had not seen these messages.
HuffPost India also enquired if he could identify the men—Sandeep Singh and Bhardwaj—whose messages can be seen in the screenshot.
He did not deny he was a part of any such WhatsApp group. He said: “There are some WhatsApp groups to which my name has been added in which I have never been active. I do not know these people. I will try to find out.”
Jayati Ghosh, professor at JNU’s Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, told Sethi that she saw a group of men assembling at the Godavari bus stop at 6pm.
A faculty member told HuffPost India on condition of anonymity that Buddha Singh, Associate Dean of Students, was with the group, who said they were from Delhi University.
“There had been violence earlier at the school area and at the Periyar hostel. The JNUTA had organised a peace march where a lot of students had gathered. That’s when they (the goons) came and attacked that meet. So, a lot of students ran towards the 24x7 (dhaba),” said Swathi Sivanand, a PhD scholar. The dhaba is located near the Tapti and Sabarmati hostels on campus.
“I was at 24x7 eating food when they (the goons) passed. They were trying to beat up a lot of the young men who were around, but we pleaded with them so they left us,” said Sivanand, who saw Ghosh being attacked.
A student, whose identity HuffPost India is withholding, said she saw a group of people wearing masks storming Sabarmati hostel, and that the mob included women as well. The students locked themselves into the hostel rooms and barred the door with beds and other furniture.
The student said that the JNU Wi-Fi is currently down, and that many students are still locked in their rooms. Sivanand said students were mobilising on hostel lines to keep themselves safe.
JNU professor Atul Sood told NDTV that students and teachers were attacked with stoneS.
“These were not small stones, these were big stones that could have broken our skulls. I fell on the side and when I came out, I saw cars completely vandalised including my car,” he said.
The JNU students’ union tweeted out a photo of JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh with blood on her face.
The union also tweeted out a photo of some of the attackers, saying:
“I am not even in a condition to talk. I have been brutally attacked by goons wearing masks. I have been bleeding. I was brutally beaten up,” Ghosh said on a Facebook video posted by former JNU president N. Sai Balaji.
The union tweeted that the police had asked students to chant ‘Bharat Mata Ki JAI’ at the north gate of the campus.
According to The Wire, ABVP claims “Left activists” were responsible for the violence and vandalism.
Kejriwal calls on Delhi Police to act
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, asking the police to immediately stop violence and restore peace.
The JNU Teachers’ Association issued the following statement:
The JNUTA condemns the orgy of violence that was unleashed in JNU today with the connivance of the JNU Administration with the Police standing by as mute spectators. Mobs not only went around hostels attacking several students, severely injuring many of them. A JNUTA meeting called to appeal for peace on campus was also attacked by a mob of masked people with stones and sticks. A teacher suffered head injuries and had to be hospitalized. The cars of several teachers were also smashed.
The JNUTA holds the JNU Administration singularly responsible for this grave situation. It is a product of its desperation in the light of it’s failure to resolve the crisis created by its high handed imposition of a fee hike. Students have been on an agitation for over 70 days and the VC’s obstinacy has prevented any resolution.
Piyasree Dasgupta contributed to this story.