- Questions raised about response of Delhi Police to attack on JNU students
- Cops were on campus since afternoon, did nothing: students' union leader
- Not known how the attackers entered Jawaharlal Nehru Univ with weapons
A day after masked goons armed with iron rods, sledgehammers and bottles barged into Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University and went on a brutal rampage, questions have been raised on the role of the police and on details that have emerged like the streetlights going off during the worst of the attack. Around 50 attackers in masks, carrying weapons, not just entered the campus but had a free run for three hours, unstopped by either the police or the administration.
This morning, Delhi Police, criticised over its conduct, released a statement saying it had received "multiple complaints" and had filed one case clubbing all. The police also said some of the attackers had been identified and the case has been handed over to the Crime Branch. But no arrests have been made till now.
At least 34 people, including students and faculty, were injured in the JNU attack. While students have alleged the role of the ABVP, the BJP-linked student group has flung the allegation right back at Left-backed groups.
Horrifying visuals show a group armed with sticks and iron rods entering the campus. In the photos, taken at around 6.45 pm, the individuals are seen walking in single file near a bus stop on the campus.
Usually, multiple security guards are posted at each gate of the university spread over a 1,000-acre area; they are supposed to record the movement of students and vehicles entering and exiting the campus.
It is not known how the attackers entered JNU with weapons. If they were spotted, then why weren't they stopped? The attackers went from hostel to hostel beating students and teachers.
Students and activists have also hit out at Delhi Police's delayed reaction.
"The police had been in the campus since afternoon, but they did nothing," Saket Moon, the Vice President of the JNU Students Union, said in the aftermath of the attack.
A JNU professor injured in the attack said stones used by the mob were "big stones that could have broken our skulls", raising more questions about how armed attackers were allowed to enter.
The assaults were not just perpetrated on students and professors; politician-activist Yogendra Yadav was also one of those injured. In a Facebook post Mr Yadav said he was attacked thrice and "the police (just) watched".
Many have wondered why the Delhi Police failed to intervene and stop the mob for three hours, and how the attackers could slip away without any arrests or detentions.
A flag march was conducted by the cops only hours after the violence broke out; the police were met with furious students shouting "Delhi Police, go back".
This latest attack on students has further increased tension between the national capital's student community and the police force, following the latter's brutal crackdown on students from Jamia Millia Islamia during a protest against the controversial citizenship law.
The fact that street lights were switched off during the attack has also been flagged. This is not the first time this has happened in incidents involving JNU students. In November street lights in South Delhi were switched off before Delhi Police allegedly lathi-charged students protesting a hike in fees.
Hurt and angry students have also hit out at Vice Chancellor Jagadeesh Kumar, whose resignation they have demanded, describing him as a "henchman" who perpetuates violence on students.
JNU Vice Chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar: They need not fear about their process. The top priority of the University is to protect the academic interests of our students. https://t.co/OIvnMlgMZf— ANI (@ANI) January 6, 2020
"...cowardly Vice-Chancellor who introduces illegal policies through the backdoor, runs away from the questions of students or teachers and then manufactures a situation to demonize JNU. He is using henchmen to perpetrate violence on students and vandalise the university," the JNUSU said.
This morning Mr Kumar told students "they need not fear" and that the "top priority" of the university was to protect the students' academic interests.
"They need not fear about their process. The top priority of the University is to protect the academic interests of our students," he was quoted by news agency ANI.
This latest violent attack on JNU students comes after sustained involvement by the student community in protests against contentious issues, such as the university administration's decision to hike hostel fees and the amendments to the citizenship law.
The attack has also spurred student communities across India into action, with thousands taking to the streets last night and this morning to protest the brutal treatment of their counterparts.
With input from ANI