A clash erupted between the members of the JNU students’ union and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS)-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), on Sunday. The two groups got into an argument inside the university campus over the occupation of the students’ union hall. The clash left several students injured from both sides.
According to police, cross-FIRs have been registered in the matter under sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 341 (punishment for wrongful restrain) of the Indian Penal Code. No one has been detained or arrested in connection with the incident and a probe is underway, said the police.
In a statement, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) alleged that ABVP unleashed a well-thought-out, pre-planned, vociferous attack on the students of the university. It shared videos that purportedly showed ABVP members hurling chairs on students. “This comes in light of continuous attempts of vandalisation of the union office by ABVP, three times in a row this year,” the JNUSU said.
The hall was booked on November 11 by the “100 flowers” group for an event on Sunday. On the day of the event, the ABVP not only refused to vacate the hall but unabashedly resorted to intimidating tactics of utmost criminal negligence, the JNUSU alleged.
It said the ABVP members were asked to conduct their internal meeting in a first-floor room of the same building but they refused. “Upon the call of the student union, students gathered at the hall to reclaim our spaces,” the JNUSU said.
JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh was heckled as she tried to intervene while Vivek, a student from the School of International Studies (SIS), was “violently attacked with iron rods and wooden chairs, while others also suffered blows and some were abused and manhandled by ABVP “, the statement said.
The JNUSU members took out a march against the incident later in the day.
The ABVP members, on the other hand, claimed that the left-affiliated student bodies assaulted students for holding a meeting at the student activities center or the hall. “The JNUSU and the left parties have brought out a decree that only the JNUSU president can give permissions for using the student activities centre. And to impose this, they resorted to collective violence on a peaceful gathering of ABVP activists at the hall, the ABVP said in a statement. The right-wing outfit also took out a march in the campus against the incident.”
Police said they acted as soon as they received information about slogans being raised. “Police responded to the call swiftly. We did not find any quarrel taking place on the spot. On an inquiry, it was learned that heated arguments took place between two groups of students,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southwest) Gaurav Sharma said.
The JNU on Monday said the students’ activity centre, over which the row erupted, is a common facility for all the students, while underlining that violence has no place in an academic institution and the administration condemns it.
In a statement, the JNU administration said a “scuffle between two groups of students occurred at the Students Activity Center in the campus. The students are aware that this venue in the JNU campus is a common activity or facility center for all the students of the university without discrimination, and every student is entitled and free to use the place adhering to the rules of the university.” The statement issued by the chief proctor of the university went on to state that violence and unruly behavior have no place in an academic institution and the “JNU administration would strongly disapprove of any kind of violence and disorderly conduct in the campus”.
“The students are advised to use the common facilities available for them in JNU with a sense of cordiality and responsibility, and in harmony with each other. Nobody should be allowed to disturb the peaceful existence and functioning of others,” it said. The university administration urged the students not to go by any rumors that may affect the peaceful academic atmosphere on the campus.