JNU wardens say saw mob at 4 pm and alerted police

Aranya Shankar
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In an incident report dated January 6, Mess Warden Dr Sneha and Sanitation Warden Dr Raj Yadav have said that until 8 pm, no extra security or police came (File Photo)

Two wardens at Sabarmati Hostel, which saw the worst of the violence on the JNU campus on January 5, have said a masked mob with lathis and rods was seen moving out of the hostel around 4 pm, which is when they alerted both police and JNU security, and that no help arrived until almost four hours later.

In an incident report dated January 6, Mess Warden Dr Sneha and Sanitation Warden Dr Raj Yadav have said that until 8 pm, no extra security or police came, and have demanded an investigation. While Sneha was present at the hostel before, during and after the violence, Yadav arrived around 8 pm.

Senior Warden Ramovtar Meena and Warden (Recreation) Prakasha Chandra Sahoo earlier resigned following the incident, and Sneha said this was the reason their signatures were not on the incident report. Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, however, has claimed that the two were forced to resign by students, and that their resignations had not been accepted.

Sneha told The Sunday Express she is yet to be called by the internal committee set up by university to look into the matter. Chief Security Officer Naveen Yadav refused to comment on the issue.

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Between 4 pm and 8 pm on January 5, wardens Sneha and Yadav write in the report, they approached various authorities. Around 4 pm, it says, Sneha “saw the mob comprising 40-50 people, with their faces masked, moving out from the hostel premises”. “...those standing in the premises informed that the mob were looking for some residents and when they could not find them in their respective rooms, the mob finally moved out of the hostel. The mob was carrying sticks, iron rods, etc. The 100 number was dialled immediately for police help. Till now, no violence had occurred,” it says.

Sneha said she saw the mob move out the main gate of the hostel and head towards Tapti Hostel. “Just after this, around 4:30 pm, the other two wardens, Dr Ramavatar Meena (Senior Warden) and Dr Prakash Sahoo (Recreation Warden), came to hostel office and and started calling police number for help. As the situation seemed serious, an immediate emergency meeting with three wardens was called around 5:30 pm,” the report says.

Apart from calling the PCR, the wardens say they sent a letter to the Chief Security Officer seeking extra security, and asked the guards to step up vigilance. Three hours after Sneha says she first saw the mob, masked men and women returned, their numbers having swelled.

“Around 7 pm, again the mob (around 150 people, both boys and girls, face masked, carrying sticks and iron rods in their hands), entered the hostel premises. The mob entered the girls as well as boys wing. The mob attacked many residents and their rooms were also brutally vandalised,” the report states.

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The wardens say 18 rooms and their residents in the boys’ wing were attacked, including a visually challenged student, while the hostel main gate and the glass of the mess doors were “destroyed”. The girls’ wing remained “undestroyed”. The report says around 20 students from other hostels took shelter at Sneha’s residence, located next to Sabarmati Hostel, for safety. A window of her residence overlooks the hostel main gate.

“The hostel residents have complained that mob was also carrying acid and pepper spray with them,” the report states.

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Yadav, who was outside, says she rushed back to the campus around 7:30 pm after being alerted by Sahoo.
Meanwhile, Sneha says, she got a call from Senior Warden Meena delegating the charge of acting senior warden to her. He did so as he and Sahoo had been “attacked by the mob and somehow escaped from campus”, she says in the report.

By the time Yadav reached around 8 pm, a series of calls had been made to police and for ambulances by both Sneha and her. They said they also updated the Dean of Students and Pashchimabad Provost regarding the situation.

“All residents were extremely traumatised and full of fear and feeling unsafe,” they state, adding that they inspected the boys’ wing and tried to console them.

The report adds, “Looking at the gravity and seriousness of the incident, hostel wardens ask for an investigation... The hostel property that got vandalised needs to be restored immediately.”

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