New Delhi: The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) took out a rally on Monday evening in protest against the attack on students by alleged members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on Sunday. Hundreds of students took part in the protest rally.
JNUSU has alleged that students belonging to ABVP heckled and attacked students who had booked the JNU union room for a reading session on Sunday, November 14. Several students sustained injuries during the attack.
In a statement posted on social media right before the attack started, Students' Federation of India (SFI), JNU, said: "In a continuation of ABVP's hooliganism on campus -- the union room booked by an organisation to conduct a reading session has been occupied by them. The organisation has been campaigning for the conduct of this session for the past few days."
The statement added that ABVP goons were refusing to leave the room and were resorting to tactics of criminal intimidation. "SFI-JNU calls on all democratic students to reach the union office and protect campus democracy from ABVP's lumpenism," it said.
Vivek Pandey, a student of School of International Studies, and an activist with Samajwadi Chhatra Sabha, was allegedly attacked brutally with iron and wooden chairs by over a dozen ABVP activists. The students who came to his rescue were also beaten up. Women students were harassed, assaulted and abused, said several students.
Speaking to the media on Monday, JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh said: "The mainstream media is trying to portray this as a clash between students of the university. It is very important to note that this was not a clash. It was an attack on us by the students belonging to ABVP."
Pandey, the student who was attacked, told the media that this was not the first time he had been attacked by goons belonging to ABVP. "This is the fifth time I have been attacked in the past year. I have notified the police about yesterday's attack. The students were there to protect their democratic rights, which is something the ABVP can't tolerate."
The Hundred Flowers Group had organised a reading and discussion on Friedrich Engels' book, Socialism: Utopian and Scientific. The organisation had booked the union room and campaigned for over two days for the programme. In a statement, the group said, "Just as our event was about to start ABVP goons forcibly occupied the JNUSU office and tried every way of hindering this reading session. Without following any of the above mentioned procedure the ABVP arbitrarily and utterly undemocratically claimed its right to use the JNUSU office for their meeting."
"Failing to give any logical answer about following the due procedure , the goons of ABVP soon resorted to the kind of hooliganism that the goons of Sangh Parivar indulge in on the streets," it added.
The JNUSU has said that these repeated attempts by ABVP to destroy the democratic environment of the university campus will not be fruitful. "Keeping in mind that these goons are only going to intensify their attempt on poisoning the political atmosphere of the campus, we must be ready to unitedly resist these fascists on the street," the statement released by the Hundred Flowers Group said.
According to Gaurav Sharma, deputy commissioner of police, Southwest Police, both sides (Left students organisations and ABVP) are making allegations against each other. He told Outlook India that “We did not find any quarrel taking place on the spot. On inquiry, it was learnt that heated arguments took place between two groups of students,", adding that “inquiry is on and action will be taken accordingly.”