JNU: Delhi Police identifies 37 members of 'Unity against Left'
The Delhi Police Special Investigation Team (SIT) has identified 37 people from the 60-member WhatsApp group associated with the violent attack on Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University on January 5. Delhi Police had on Friday named nine suspects involved in connection with the violence including seven from Left-backed student outfits and two from the right-wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). Here are more details.
According to PTI, the 37 students identified from the WhatsApp group 'Unity against Left' aren't affiliated to Left or Right student outfits. Reportedly, those who were identified wanted to enroll themselves and supported the semester registration process, which the Left opposed to protest against a fee hike. 10 of those identified are also believed to be outsiders (not JNU students), according to NDTV.
Incidentally, one of the 37 individuals identified from the WhatsApp group is ABVP's Manish Jangid, NDTV reported. However, Jangid, ABVP's Secretary of JNU unit, told the publication that his phone had broken and hence he was unaware of being added to any WhatsApp group.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, DCP (Crime Branch) Joy Tirkey identified nine suspects: Chunchun Kumar, Pankaj Mishra, Aishe Ghosh, Waskar Vijay, Sucheta Talukraj, Priya Ranjan, Dolan Sawant, Yogendra Bhardwaj, Vikas Patel. DCP Tirkey is heading the SIT into the case. However, Tirkey addressed the events till January 5 afternoon, when the Periyar Hostel was vandalized, not mentioning the attack later that evening.
DCP Tirkey did not mention the attack on Sunday evening when around 50 masked goons entered the campus and thrashed students. Tirkey named four Left outfits—Students' Front of India (SFI), All India Students' Federation (AISF), Democratic Students' Front (DSF), and All India Students' Association (AISA). He fell short of naming the RSS-backed ABVP, despite naming two of its members (Bhardwaj and Patel) as suspects.
DCP Tirkey clarified, "No one has been detained (as yet). Notices will be served to all suspects," adding that the suspects will be called in for questioning soon. The DCP blamed the delayed investigation on the lack of CCTV footage from JNU.
JNU students have been protesting a fee hike for months. The Left-led JNU Students Union boycotted the winter semester registration, which started on January 1. This sparked tensions on campus and the Left outfits allegedly vandalized the server room on January 4. Two FIRs were registered against JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh for incidents on January 3 and 4. The second FIR booked 19 others.
On the afternoon of January 5, the Left organizations attacked the Periyar Hostel. Later that day, masked goons entered the campus and thrashed students. They attacked the Sabarmati and Koyna hostels. The second attack was blamed on the ABVP, however, the right-wing outfit denied responsibility. Incidentally, representatives of ABVP have admitted to members carrying arms, acid, etc., for "self-defense."
India Today TV conducted a sting operation wherein ABVP's Akshat Awasthi confessed to organizing the mob for the second attack on January 5. ABVP's Rohit Shah was also caught admitting that 20 activists of the organization participated in the violence. Awasthi claimed that a police officer encouraged the mob to thrash members from Left outfits. The ABVP has since distanced itself from Awasthi.
Akshat Awasthi is neither an office bearer, nor a karyakarta of ABVP, as claimed by @IndiaToday. This is a smear campaign run by India Today to deviate everyone from the facts put forth by @DelhiPolice proving #LeftBehindJNUVoilence.— ABVP (@ABVPVoice) January 10, 2020
- National General Secretary @nidhitripathi92
The sting also nailed AISA activist Geeta Kumari, who was caught saying, "We decided to close the server room so that the administration does not function." Kumari then publicly acknowledged this saying, "We are in civil disobedience. That's what I have said. Nothing to hide."
Thus far, only one FIR has been registered against the violence on Sunday evening. A far-right Hindu outfit, the Hindu Raksha Dal, has claimed responsibility for the attack, however, it is yet to face any consequences. Three JNU professors have also moved the Delhi High Court seeking the preservation of evidence (WhatsApp messages, CCTV footage, etc.). The matter will be heard on Monday.