The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) student's wing, received a major drubbing in the recent Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) elections. The united left front, comprising All India Students' Association (AISA), Students' Federation of India (SFI), Democratic Students' Federation (DSF) and All India Students' Federation (AISF), won the polls, with N Sai Balaji elected the president of the union. Soon after the results were declared, Left students alleged that ABVP students were abusing and assaulting them.
On 17 September, ABVP activists allegedly led a mob to the Vasant Kunj police station in Delhi and threatened violence against the new JNUSU president and other students. ABVP activists have also alleged that students from Left organisations have assaulted them.
Many JNU students and teachers have clashed multiple times with the university administration and right-wing students' groups over the past year. In March, students who took out a march to protest against various administrative and academic issues alleged that the police had stopped them and beat up students. Later, several new faculty appointees were accused of plagiarism. In August, the administration declared that they would deduct the salaries of teachers who went on a strike on 31 July.
After the arrest of Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya in February 2016 on charges of sedition, students of the university have emerged as the most resonant voices of criticism against the present BJP-led government. The ABVP has lost three elections in a row in the university since then.
Edited excerpts from an interview with JNU's newly-elected student's union President N Sai Balaji.
You have alleged that ABVP members accosted and beat up Left students. What exactly happened?
After the election results were declared, we were very tired and I went back to my room in the Periyar hostel. Some time between 2.30 am and 3 am, a few...