JNU: ABVP leader admits they were 'asked' to carry acid
There is a huge buzz that ABVP, the student-wing of RSS, was involved in Sunday's attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which left over 20 injured. Conversations in some WhatsApp groups hint ABVP planned the attack, but the body has claimed innocence. Amid the allegations, an ABVP member admitted on national television that they were asked to carry acid, rods, bars, but in "self-defense".
ABVP member Anima Sarkar, who appeared on Times Now, was asked to explain the visuals incriminating her colleagues. Failing to make a case for ABVP, she said, "So much panic was being created, so many threat calls were being made that all the students were asked to step out in groups... step out while you have rods, bars, pepper spray. Somebody has acid (sic)."
Shortly after violence broke out, a couple of screenshots were circulated on social media. The members of these WhatsApp groups purportedly planned the entire episode, with some remaining active even when students were being beaten. By yesterday, more details about the conversations emerged. As per Indian Express, eight office bearers of ABVP, JNU's Chief Proctor, and two Ph.D. scholars were participants of these groups.
Reportedly, at least three groups, namely "Friends of RSS", "Unity Against Left", and "Left Terror Down Down", remained active before and after the violence. At around 5:30 pm, a user shared the link of "Unity against Left" on the "Friends of RSS" group, reports HT. This user was identified as ABVP member Yogendra Bhardwaj, who studies Sanskrit. His number is now switched off.
As it turns out, several ABVP members were admins of the "Unity Against Left" group. This includes Vijay Kumar, Vibhag Sanyojak of JNU's ABVP arm, Manish Jangid, ABVP's candidate for 2019 JNUSU polls, and Valentina Brahma, ABVP's Delhi girls coordinator. Kumar, who is pursuing his Ph.D. from JNU's School of International Studies, claimed he left the group as soon as he was added.
Similarly, Brahma hinted at a "Left-hatched conspiracy". "I saw people from ABVP as admins, so thought it was our group. After a few hours, when I saw the messages, I realized that the group has been hijacked by people from the Left. Then I started removing people. Then someone removed me as the admin. And then I exited the group," she told IE.
One of the most shocking names to have emerged from these controversial groups is Dhananjay Singh, the chief proctor of JNU. Allegedly, he was a member of the "Friends of RSS" group. But he said he has quit the group and was unaware of conversations. "So many times you don't even look at the messages in such groups when you are added," he said.
The members of these groups indulged in abhorrent conversations, to say the least. One of the participants wrote, "s***o ko hostel mein ghus ke tode", and another messaged "This is a now or never battle. If we don't beat them now, then when?" The second text was posted by ABVP member Saurabh Kumar who insisted that someone "misused his number".
Another ABVP member whose name cropped up is Vikas Patel. He purportedly sent a message reading, "People from DU can also enter from the Khajan Singh swimming pool". His number is switched off and Facebook account deactivated. The incriminating evidence, notwithstanding, ABVP said it was being framed. "We can add anyone in any group these days and take a screenshot and defame people," said ABVP's national coordinator Rahul Chaudhary.
"If they [Left groups] have proof against us for planning and plotting on WhatsApp groups then they should give it to the police," Chaudhary added. And Manish Jangid, secretary of ABVP's JNU unit said their numbers were taken from some server.
Further, in an attempt to show its faultlessness, ABVP released clips of JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh, in which she purportedly led a mob for the attack. But vice-president of the union, Saket Moon said Ghosh wasn't the attacker and had gone to stop the untoward incident. Meanwhile, a person linked to Congress also participated in the conversations, but he too claimed innocence.
Political consultant Anand Mangnale, who admitted he was hired by Congress during Lok Sabha polls, posted a message that read, "People in support of JNU are coming to main gate. Whaa kuch karna hai (Do we need to do something there)?" When asked about this, Mangnale said he was spying and acted like "one of them". He also denied being affiliated to any party.
Facing pressure to crack the case soon, Delhi Police said the crime branch was scrutinizing social media to understand who was involved. "Pictures of masked attackers extracted from mobile videos that are being uploaded on social media along with pictures of individuals taken from their social media profiles, establishing a link, will also be examined to ascertain its authenticity," spokesperson Mandeep Randhawa said.