The JNU administration first blamed 'masked miscreants' for the violence but soon blamed agitating students in a second statement.

VC police and security allowed ABVP goons to attack students JNUSU on violence
news JNU violence Monday, January 06, 2020 - 12:48

Shocking violence by masked men and women on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Sunday night has triggered a fresh round of spontaneous protests across India, and abroad. Twenty eight people, including teachers and students, were injured in the attack that lasted for nearly two hours, and the anger against the JNU administration is growing by the minute for not taking enough action to bring the goons under control. But what started as anger against inaction is now growing into rage at the stand that the administration has decided to take.

While the administration at first blamed ‘miscreants’ for the violence in a short statement, they later changed tack and blamed the students who have been fighting against the fee hikes in the university. The protesting students – many of who were attacked on Sunday – have been running a civil disobedience movement inside the university, and blocking the registration process for courses, demanding that the administration roll back fee hikes before going ahead with the registration. JNU students' union, Left Unions and a large section of students have been a part of this protest.

And the JNU administration has tried to shift the blame for the violence on the protesting students. In a second statement from JNU on Sunday, the Registrar of the university Pramod Kumar blamed 'a group of students' for opposing and disrupting the registration process on campus for the last three days. It claims that violence began on January 3, when students covered their faces with masks and forcibly evicted technical staff and made servers dysfunctional in the Communication and Information Services premises. However, while explaining the events of January 5, the statement glosses over the violence perpetrated by the 'masked miscreants' and attempts to keep the focus on agitating students.

"Around 4.30 pm (on January 5), a group of students, who are against the registration process moved aggressively from the front of the admin block and reached the hostels. The administration however contacted the police to come quickly...," reads the statement. "However, by the time the students who are for the registration were beaten up by a group of students opposing the registration," it claims.

The statement then adds, "Some masked miscreants also entered the Periyar hostel rooms and attacked the students with sticks and rods. Some of the security guards doing duties at these places were also badly injured. During the last couple of weeks, these agitating students also vandalised the admin block and ransacked the office of the Vice Chancellor for which a few complaints were filed."

This statement by the administration categorically fails to mention what unfolded after 6 pm when the outsiders entered the campus and attacked students. 

Taking strong exception to the Registrar’s statement, the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) has accused the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – the student wing of the RSS – of orchestrating the attack on students. They also accused JNU Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar of behaving like a 'mobster'.

Denying claims of any connection to the masked men, the Union in a statement says, "He (Jagadeesh Kumar) uses all means and manner to see to it that students, teachers, Karmacharis, and the entire JNU community faces violence by criminals imported from outside, using iron rods, stones, and lathis. Even as we speak, the JNUSU President is in the trauma centre of AIIMS after she was hit by an iron rod on the head in the ABVP assault."

The JNUSU has further demanded that Vice Chancellor Jagadeesh Kumar should step down from his post for attempting to destroy JNU at the behest of right wing forces.

Students have further alleged that the police, campus security and administrators colluded to allow 'ABVP goons' to enter the premises of the University and attack staff and students. The Union alleges that right wing student group and Cyclops security, which has been hired in the campus, turned it into a war zone.

"The chronology of events that unfolded today is a shameful episode for the Delhi Police who gave a safe passage to ABVP goons imported from outside. For days now the administration has been unable to break our protest. Since January 4, ABVP people were directed as henchmen of the VC to come and beat up students. They used lathis and pipes on that day," alleges JNUSU.

Lathis, rods and huge stones were allegedly used by attackers on the hostels and even local food stall owners were assaulted, says the statement.

"But also most disturbingly and shamefully, (they) went inside the girls wing of Sabarmati (hostel), and thereafter a lot of girls hostels to intimidate and attack female students. The Cyclops security, at the behest of the VC, collaborated in getting male goons access to women's hostels where they banged on doors. Nothing can be more chilling than this. The JNUTA (JNU Teachers Association) had called for a peace march in the campus but even they were not spared. Prof. Sucharita Sen of CSRD was brutally hit on the head along with several teachers who were also injured," states the Student Union.

The students say that for four years now, the Vice Chancellor has been intently engaged in the favourite project of the Sangh Parivar 'which is to destroy JNU'.

"The Delhi Police which perpetrated violence on Jamia changed their roles but not the intent. They stood as mute spectators while goons carried sticks and iron rods to beat up students. They also allowed safe passage to the goons," says the statement, "The JNU community has a single point demand. That either this VC resign or the MHRD as the competent authority remove him.”