Delhi Police outside the JNU campus. (Express photo)
On a day of fast-paced developments, Delhi Police released pictures of nine suspects, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, in the JNU violence case even though it did not divulge details on the January 5 evening incident, where a mob of around 100 masked people ran riot inside the campus, injuring 36 students, teachers, and staff. Addressing a press conference, DCP (Crime Branch) Joy Tirkey, who is probing the case, said of the nine, seven belong to Left-wing student organisations while the other two were affiliated to right-wing students' body.
The revelation triggered another round of war of words between the BJP and the Opposition. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said a "malafide campaign to defame the ABVP" was debunked by the Delhi Police while Sharad Yadav stated that BJP had deployed the plank of nationalism to paint those who attacked students in JNU as patriots while the victims had been criticised.
Meanwhile, JNU students and ABVP took out separate marches inside the campus on Friday even as Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare held a meeting with officials and members-elect of the JNU Students’ Union to end the standoff that started almost three months ago over a fee hike.
Here are the top developments in the JNU violence case:
• At a press conference, Delhi Police named nine students, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, as suspects behind the violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University. Joy Tirke, DCP, Crime Branch, said several people, including Aishe Ghosh, attacked students in the university's Periyar hostel. The police also named Chunchun Kumar, Pankaj Mishra, Waskar Vijay, Sucheta Talukraj, Priya Ranjan, Dolan Sawant, Yogendra Bhardwaj, and Vikas Patel as suspects.
Tirke said the parties were against the ongoing winter registration process on the campus that resulted in several scuffles since January 3. “A large majority of students want to register but the mentioned groups and their sympathizers are not allowing students to do the same,” Tirkey said. He also said that no one had been detained so far but police would begin interrogating the suspects after sending them notices.
• After being named as one of the nine suspects in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus violence, JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh said she had evidence to show how she was attacked. Ghosh received 16 stitches on her head and fractured her left hand when around 100 masked men ran riot inside the campus on Sunday evening.
“Delhi Police can do their inquiry. I also have evidence to show how I was attacked. I have full faith in the law & order of this country that investigation will be fair. I will get justice. But why is Delhi Police biased? My complaint has not been filed as an FIR. I have not carried out any assault,” Aishe Ghosh said.
• The Delhi Police report came as a shot in the arm for the BJP, with Union Minister Prakash Javadekar saying it had now been established that ABVP and BJP were unnecessarily being blamed for the last five days for the JNU violence.
“Today’s police press conference established that for the last 5 days, the chorus that was created deliberately to blame ABVP, BJP and others, wasn’t true. It is the left organisations that pre-planned violence, disabled CCTV and destroyed server,” Javadekar said.
• Union minister Smriti Irani too joined the bandwagon, saying the "Left design" in the varsity had been "unmasked" and accused it of turning the campus into a political battleground.
"Left design in JNU unmasked. They led mobs of mayhem, destroyed public property paid for by taxpayers, disallowed new students from being enrolled, used the campus as a political battleground. Left behind JNU violence becomes public knowledge as Delhi Police releases evidence," the former HRD minister said in a tweet.
• Meanwhile, at ground zero inside the JNU campus, ABVP and students held separate marches over the January 5 violence. JNU students formed a human chain at the varsity to protest against the violence on the campus and carried banners reading 'Fees must fall' and 'In defence of public-funded higher education'. The BJP-affiliated ABVP took out a march towards the main gate of the varsity carrying banner 'Red Terror down down' and 'Reclaim our study'.
• The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers Association (JNUTA) expressed disappointment over the Delhi Police report and said the mob violence incident on January 5 was glossed over as a non-event. "Such underplaying of the incidents that shocked the nation and subjected several to extreme trauma is deeply disturbing. It may be noted that till date not even one of the several complaints filed by teachers has been turned into an FIR," the JNUTA said in a statement.
• Earlier in the day, the HRD Ministry met officials and members-elect of the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU). Following the meeting, Aishe Ghosh said the JNUSU was steadfast on its demand for the removal of Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar but any decision on whether to call off the agitation against the fee hike would be taken later.
“They have assured that they will have positive intervention in the matter and release a circular on the issue soon,” Ghosh said. “We demanded that JNU VC should be removed from his post immediately as he is not able to run the university. We need a VC that can help in a fresh beginning and can help in bringing normalcy at the campus,” she said.
• In a separate meeting, JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar apprised the HRD Secretary that the university was implementing all decisions taken earlier related to the hostel fee “in totality”. The JNU V-C also said the university administration would extend the deadline for the semester registration process again if needed.
“Met HRD Secretary today and apprised him that the JNU administration is implementing the record of discussions with MHRD issued on December 11, 2019, and that the administration was making every effort to make sure that all students and teachers would have a conducive environment to pursue their academic activities,” Kumar said.