New Delhi: Delhi Police Monday registered an FIR against “unknown people” for the violence at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus Sunday, based on a complaint filed by students from the JNU Student Union (JNUSU), All India Students Association (AISA), Students Federation of India (SFI), and Democratic Students Federation (DSF).
Left organisations have alleged that a group of about 30-40 students and workers affiliated to the RSS students’ body, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), created a ruckus and physically assaulted students at JNU, over the preparation of chicken at the university’s Kaveri hostel on the day of Ram Navmi Sunday evening.
While five students affiliated to the AISA and 2 security personnel sustained serious injuries, other students also suffered minor injuries. The complaint of the Left organisations, filed in the early hours of Monday, named eight ABVP members for the violence. Police said they don’t have any evidence against anyone yet.
However, ABVP members have denied the allegations, and accused the students affiliated to Left organisations of disrupting a pooja organised by them at Kaveri hostel.
Manoj C., Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP), south west, told ThePrint that the FIR is based on the contents of the Left organisations’ complaint. Students from the ABVP are likely to file a separate complaint, he added.
In a press statement issued Monday, Manoj claimed, “We received a complaint from a group of students who are members of JNUSU, SFI, DSF and AISA early morning of 11/4/22 against unknown ABVP students, accordingly we have a registered an FIR under section 323/341/509/506/34 of IPC (Indian Penal Code). Further investigation is on to collect factual/scientific evidence and identify the culprits.”
While Section 323 of the IPC refers to “punishment for voluntarily causing hurt”, 341 deals with “wrongful restraint”, 509 relates to “word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman”, 506 to “criminal intimidation”, and 34 to “acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention”.
A copy of the FIR is yet to be released to the students. According to police sources, the FIR has not been shared yet because accusations include those of sexual assault, making the case sensitive.
The Left organisations’ complaint — seen by ThePrint — names eight people. “From 2019, complaints have been lodged against repeat offenders of ABVP like Ravi Raj, Nishant Vidhyarthi, Vikram, Praful, Vikas Palliwal, Abhishek, Shivam Chaurasia, Rohith and several others,” it adds.
Sources in Delhi Police claimed that since they don’t have evidence against those named in the complaint, a process to verify the assailants’ identities will first be undertaken.
A Delhi Police officer, who did not wish to be identified, said, “We will collect our own evidence and verify the identity of the students behind the incident. We have taken into account the names and shall check if they were involved in the violence Sunday. Action will be taken.”
Both sides have accused each other of pelting stones and inflicting injury.
In a statement issued Monday, JNU authorities said strict action will be taken against students found indulging in violence.
“Taking serious note of the incident, the vice-chancellor, rector and other officials visited the hostel and met with students. It has been conveyed that no violence will be tolerated on campus and appealed the students to maintain peace and harmony on campus,” it said.
‘Not a two-sided scuffle’
In the signed complaint submitted to the station house officer (SHO) of Vasant Kunj early Monday, students from the JNUSU, AISA, SFI and DSF requested that Sunday’s violence not be represented as a “scuffle between two parties”.
“We appeal to you to refrain from making statements to the media portraying this violence as a two-sided scuffle between two parties. Your own personnel are witnesses to who carried out the violence,” it says.
In the two-page complaint, the students have claimed that they had been calling the police since 4 pm Sunday to report the violence.
The complaint reads: “We seek a written response, issued publicly from your end, explaining why there was no action taken by the Delhi Police during the violence. We demand that every complaint be immediately turned into an FIR.”
The police had Sunday denied allegations that immediate action wasn’t taken by them. “A PCR (police control room) call was made after the protest turned violent at around 8.15pm. The police team reached the spot within the next 15 minutes and tried to pacify them,” Manoj had said.
He had added that students from both sides were injured in the clash, including the ones who tried to stop the violence.
Meanwhile, referring to the identity of the ABVP members who were allegedly part of Sunday’s violence, Apeksha Priyadarshini, a JNUSU councillor and one of the students who signed the complaint, told ThePrint, “Not only are these students repeat offenders (accusing them of creating disruptions previously and harassing students), they were also present at the hostel yesterday. We have written their names because we identified them while the violence took place. Despite physically going to the stationed police officers and identifying the ABVP students who had turned violent on Sunday, the police did not register their names.”
In a press statement released Sunday, the ABVP claimed that members of the body studying in JNU had organised a pooja on campus, which was disrupted by Left-wing students. They said iftar was being celebrated at the hostel “very peacefully and simultaneously”, adding that this “once again established the fact that JNU represents a microcosm of Bharat where different identities coexist peacefully”.
ABVP National Media Convenor Siddharth Yadav said the Left organisations “could not tolerate the fact that so many students had come to attend a pooja in JNU”.
“Why did they create such a ruckus in Kaveri hostel only? Why not others? This is the only hostel which does not have an ABVP member as a part of the hostel committee. All they (Left organisations) wanted to do was create conflict over religion in JNU,” he added.
(Edited by Poulomi Banerjee)