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Sunday Evening Mob Attack on JNU 'a Pre-Planned Exercise', Alleges JNUTA

At a press conference, several teachers gave first-hand accounts of the attack on JNU and several examples of why they believe the university administration played a direct or indirect role.

New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) on Monday alleged that the university administration, Cyclops, the private group in-charge of security, some right-leaning faculty members, and Delhi police may have directly or indirectly helped the mob put the campus under siege.

This claim of the administration’s complicity comes a day after a group of around 100 people, armed with sticks, stones and rods, most wearing helmets, unleashed a spell of violence at the campus, ransacking property, vandalising vehicles and hostel rooms, and beating up students and teachers who supported the ongoing student’s movement against the administration’s decision to sharply hike tuition and hostel fees.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Shukla Sawant, a professor at the School of Arts and Aesthetics (SAA) who suffered injuries, said it was during the peace march called by the JNUTA at 6 pm that the “goons” attacked them indiscriminately. She said her trauma did not end at the university. “When I was taken to AIIMS, some people heckled me there,” she said.

Also read: ‘They Were Banging the Door With an Iron Rack’: Students, Teachers Describe JNU Violence

Several teachers spoke about the security lapse. “How could so many outsiders enter the campus? What was the security doing,” asked one teacher at the press meet. One said that she had submitted her write-up about lapses to the security-in-charge, and expects a response from him.

Bikramaditya Choudhary, a former JNUTA office bearer, narrated the ordeal his wife went through on Sunday evening. “My wife as usual had left for a walk around 6.30 pm. A mob of around 100 people suddenly charged at her. She started screaming for help and rushed to our new transit house quarter.”

He said that he must have made at least 50 calls to various people, including the registrar, security-in-charge and other officials. None of them responded.

“Soon the mob entered the new transit house and banged on the doors of each of the 25 houses in the premises. A faculty member who is not from India opened the door thinking a student must have come to consult her. The mob ransacked her house completely,” Choudhary said.

“I am frightened not by the mob but by the JNU administration and the government of India,” he said, adding that the plan was to “completely terrorise people”. He alleged that despite multiple efforts, the private security personnel have not registered his complaint yet.

He claimed that when he went to the security group’s office, the names of the guards who were on Sunday evening duty were absent from the roster, alleging that various circumstantial evidence indicates that the administration and the police could well be complicit in the violence.

Ameet Parameshwaran, a faculty member at the SAA, said he was the one who took Professor Sucharita Sen, one of the most grievously injured teachers, on a motorcycle to AIIMS. At the north gate from where he drove out of campus, he said a bunch of outsiders stopped him in front of the security guards to check his identity.

Some students and teachers also claimed that the Delhi police stood as mute spectators when the masked mob was “unleashing its terror”.

Also read: The Message After JNU Attack Is Clear: No Space Is Safe

Vikas Bajpai, a faculty member at the School of Social Sciences, said that when he was taking one of his students, Kamlesh, to AIIMS, JNUSU presidential candidate Manish Jangid, who was himself injured in a scuffle preceding the mob violence, threatened him. “When I was at the AIIMS parking lot, a stranger came up to me and spoke in a threatening way. I drove away without listening to him.”

He said that the BJP IT Cell is now using Kamlesh’s image to wrongly portray that he is an ABVP activist who suffered injuries at the hands of protesting students.

He added that he got a call from one of his students on Sunday afternoon that a van had stopped outside the house of one of the professors who is seen to be close to the administration and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s student wing the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). He said that many outsiders stepped out of the van and entered his house, suggesting that that the whole incident could have been coordinated with the help of ABVP supporters in the campus and the university administration.

D.K. Lobiyal, a former JNUTA office bearer, also alleged that the mob attack on JNU was “a pre-planned exercise”.