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JNU: Violence Against Handicapped Student Draws Widespread Condemnation

PhD student at the Centre for Russian Studies at JNU was allegedly beaten and manhandled by members of ABVP when he resisted his forceful eviction on behalf of Warden.

File Photo

New Delhi: Farooq Alam, a PhD student at the Centre for Russian Studies at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), was allegedly beaten and manhandled by the members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP), students’ wing of Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) inside the campus when he resisted his forceful eviction on behalf of the warden of Kaveri Hostel. “How is it happening that you take the support of guards and ABVP activists to beat a handicapped student just because he has refused to bow down before you,” the words of Farooq Alam resemble resolve and determination as he looks forward to continuing his struggle. 

Talking to NewsClick over the phone, Alam maintained that he was subjected to harassment by the JNU administration for active involvement in the struggle against fee hikes in 2019. He said that the administration initiated a proctorial enquiry on a social media post where he questioned the conduct of then Dean Umesh Kadam.

“Post 2019, a proctorial enquiry was done, and I was ordered to vacate the hostel. I moved to the Delhi High Court against the order, and the administration willingly withdrew the case. Later, another proctorial committee came up with the same order on August 5 this year, and this order has also been challenged. Meanwhile, a team consisting of the hostel warden, security guards and members of the ABVP came to my room and broke the lock when I was outside the campus. I came to my room and pleaded with the warden about a pending case. I was beaten black and blue when I started questioning this anti-student behaviour. Later, I fainted and was admitted to Safdarjung Hospital,” he continued.

“I am a handicapped person. Where will I go with hundreds of books and other things at such short notice,” said an anxious Alam.

Condemnation poured in from all student organisations who said that the administration had become a mute spectator to the violence against minorities.

Harendra Sheshma from the Students Federation of India (SFI) said that on the afternoon of September 6, 2023, the Warden of Kaveri hostel, on the pretext of enforcing the punishment meted out by a farcical proctorial inquiry, started intimidating Mr Farooque into vacating his room.

He said, “He had brought a team of ABVP members along to aid him in intimidating Mr. Farooq. After the initial phase of verbal intimidation, the Warden stood guard while the members of ABVP physically assaulted Mr. Farooq. He was subjected to physical violence till he lost consciousness. It was only after the residents of the Kaveri hostels gathered to resist the Warden and his goons that Farooq could be freed from this horrific ordeal.”

He added, “A similar incident happened a few weeks back in the month of August, wherein a resident of the same hostel assaulted the mess secretary of Kaveri hostel, Md Shams. Instead of discharging their duties by conducting an inquiry to ensure justice for the victim and end such tendencies, the wardens forced the victim to compromise.”

He added, “Incidents like these point to the concerted effort of the RSS agents in the administration, in complicity with ABVP, to turn the campus into a harrowing space for students who do not subscribe to their ideology… The repeated attack on the students belonging to minority, SC, ST, OBC communities and physically challenged students expose their Brahminical agenda to make educational institutions exclusionary spaces and deathbeds of the aspirations of students belonging to historically deprived communities.”

Madhurima, Secretary of All India Students Association JNU Unit, said, “This has become a clear pattern where it is impossible to distinguish the ABVP and administrative officials from one another. They have interpenetrated with each other so much that often they have started behaving like surrogates of each other. Never in the history of this campus have we seen that an organisation has reduced itself to the unpaid bouncer or muscleman of the administrator. Neither have we seen the administration shielding their favourite goons so ardently.”

Neeraj Kundan, National President of the National Students Union of India, said, “We urge the progressive JNU students to resist these goons and expose them. These goons are puppets of the JNU administration, and they are tackling students violently on their behalf. We also request that the JNU administration take immediate action against the warden and the involved ABVP goons.”

Gopal Ram, Warden, Kaveri Hostel, did not furnish his reply till the story was published.

Umesh Chand Ajmera, President of ABVP JNU Unit, told NewsClick, “ABVP wasn't involved in any form, direct or indirect, nor were any members present during the hostel evacuation process of Mr Alam. ABVP members (only two office bearers) Rohit Kumar and Manoj Uniyal reside in Kaveri Hostel, and they were not in or around the premises during the said process.”

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