‘JNU attack: Muslim students’ rooms targeted’

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Jan.Mon,20/05:46:31 PM

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Sumedha Pal, Ravi Kaushal, NewsClick.in

January 06, 2020

Amidst the #FeeMustFall movement led by the students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, the campus witnessed massive violence on the last day of the registration process. The students of the varsity have been resisting the fee hike over the last one month. Reports of violence were emanating from the campus from Saturday itself, following which, Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) had called for a meeting at Sabarmati T point.

The meeting organised by JNUTA started at 4:30 PM. It was addressed by JNUTA President D K Lobiyal, former JNUTA President Sonjhariya Minj, JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh and JNUSU vice president Saket Moon. Both JNUSU members asserted: “We will not be silent, we will not be violent.”

The meeting concluded at around 6:30 pm, following which, a huge mob of masked men and women could be seen approaching them. One of the NewsClick reporters was present at the site. Based on what he witnessed, the attackers pelted stones as they approached the gathering. The pelting caused panic among the students and they ran towards 24×7 food court and Sabarmati Hostel. The mob started vandalising the cars parked at the venue. One of the cars belonged to the former president of JNUTA, Atul Sood. Following this, the mob approached the Sabarmati Hostel. The mob went to the first floor and started targetting the rooms. They reportedly targeted room numbers 156 and 157. Both the rooms were allocated to Kashmiri students. When NewsClick later visited room no 156, the Kashmiri occupant was explaining the incidents to other students. His friend could be seen sobbing and complaining to the lady warden about the security personnel’s apathy in protecting them.

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Speaking to NewsClick, a student explained, “The targeting was planned and specific. Muslim students were targetted. People were compelled to jump from the balconies and leave.”

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Mirza, the Kashmiri occupant, told NewsClick: “I was inside my room when I heard a mob trying to break into the rooms and hauling up people. I could hear them hurling cuss words and abuses. They specifically took my name and asked to see if I am inside. To stop them from entering the room, three other people alongside me had to hold the door. The goons continued to bang the doors for the next half an hour. It was pure terror!”

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Speaking to NewsClick, a visually challenged student said, “There is fear and absolute terror on the campus. The masked men stormed inside my room and started thrashing me. I kept telling them that I am blind, but they did not believe me. I was beaten up and then threatened not to speak up. I was told I will have to face dire consequences if I do. I had to be taken to the trauma centre. I have just come back. I was shielded by a professor; so, I managed to survive. This could have been a lot worse for me.”

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Collective Call to end violence inside the campus

With the reports of violence from the campus widely shared on social media, a collective call was given by the civil society members and students to protest against this blatant targetting and to demand that and the right-wing members present on the campus be dispelled immediately.

The call for the protest was met with massive police presence and turning off of the street lights on the main road,

Masked men and women were seen carrying sticks even outside the campus, chanting slogans like “Urban Naxals, leave JNU” and “Anti-nationals leave JNU”. The protesters were heckled and mishandled by the purported goons. Speaking to NewsClick, Anjali Bhardwaj of the Right to Information campaign said, “We are being surrounded by goons, we are being threatened, manhandled just for coming out and standing here peacefully.” D Raja, general secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist), said, “This is blatant fascism. I am standing here as a concerned citizen of the country. People are being beaten up, as the police is standing here as mute spectators.”

Among those attacked was also Yogendra Yadav of Swarajya Abhiyaan, who said, “I was speaking to the JNU teachers about what’s happening at the campus. During this, police started dragging me away saying you are creating tension. That’s when all the goondas who have gathered here started attacking me and I fell down. Now, the police are asking me to leave. They don’t have the courage to remove these goondas.”

Secretary of the JNU Teachers’ Association, Surajit Mazumdar, said, “Teachers were attacked today, and we are absolutely convinced, [it was] in connivance of the JNU vice-chancellor and the JNU administration.”

The violence, impunity of the goons and the police inaction have triggered protests and condemnation from across the country and the world.

This story first appeared on NewsClick.in on January 06, 2020 here.