The Delhi Police on Friday named Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) student leader Aishe Ghosh among nine suspects for violence at the university last week and released their circled photographs to the media. Naming mostly members of the Left-controlled students' union, the police gave few details on the attack by a masked mob on students and teachers on Sunday evening.
Focusing on clashes that took place on the campus before Sunday over increased hostel fees, Delhi Police officials named Aishe Ghosh, Chunchun Kumar, Pankaj Mishra, Waskar Vijay, Sucheta Talukdar, Priya Ranjan, Dolan Sawant, Yogendra Bhardwaj and Vikas Patel. The last two, Yogendra Bhardwaj and Vikas Patel, are said to be members of the BJP-linked Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad or ABVP.
Addressing a press conference, senior police officer Joy Tirkey, who is probing the case, said a majority of the students wanted to register for the winter semester from January 1 to 5, but the left students' groups were not allowing them to do so. Members of Left groups attacked the server room at JNU to stop online registrations and enforce a strike over their protest against the increased fees, said the officer.
Hours after the attack, a large group of masked people armed with iron rods and sledge-hammers entered the campus and attacked students and teachers. Aishe Ghosh was among those who suffered a head wound, and was bleeding heavily when she was taken to hospital. None of the attackers were stopped or arrested, even though several policemen were on campus at the time.
The police admitted that it was facing difficulty in identifying those responsible for the attack on the Sunday and cited the lack of security footage, authenticated video recordings and witnesses.
Aishe Ghosh, speaking to the media around the same time as the police, denied any role in the violence and accused the police of blatant bias. She said she had gone to the scene to stop the violence. "I was not wearing any masks, I have done no wrong... I still have my blood soaked clothes," she said.
The police claims were seized by members of the ruling BJP as vindication, with two union ministers targeting the Left.
"Today's police press conference established that for the last five days the chorus that was created deliberately to blame ABVP, BJP and others, that wasn't true. It's the left organisations that pre-planned the violence, disabled CCTVs and & destroyed the server," said Prakash Javadekar.
His colleague Smriti Irani, a former education minister, tweeted, "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. #LeftBehindJNUViolence becomes public knowledge as Delhi Police releases evidence."
The two cases against Aishe Ghosh and other left students for the clashes on Friday and Saturday were filed by the police within a span of four minutes on Sunday evening, shortly after she was taken to hospital bleeding from the attack.
The JNU students' union has been protesting against a hostel fee hike and had allegedly stormed into the server room to block the registration process on Sunday afternoon. There were clashes between the JNU students and the ABVP at the time.
There were no names in the third FIR, filed on the mob attack. The police has also been accused of letting them slip out of the JNU campus after a three-hour rampage. While JNU students have accused the ABVP of involvement in the attack in their complaints to the police, the student body linked to the ruling BJP has denied any involvement.