The Delhi Police have reportedly given their local officials a clean chit in the matter pertaining to unprecedented violence in the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on January 5 this year.
The violence by a group of masked men and women left several students and teachers injured on January 5. An FIR was registered and the case was transferred to the Crime Branch. Later evidence suggested that the attackers were allegedly affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarathi Parishad (ABVP) and questioned by the police. A fact-finding committee headed by Joint Commissioner of Police (Western Range) Shalini Singh was formed by then Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik after the students and teachers complained that the police remained a mute spectator to the violence and did not stop the attackers when they left the campus.
As per a report in The Indian Express, the committee found that eight calls were made to the police control room (PCR) from 3.45 pm to 4.15 pm mainly concerning the beating of students at Periyar hostel in JNU. Later they received 14 PCR calls related to isolated incidents of violence. Afterwards, a Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) visited the campus and found the situation did not need police intervention. The committee also opined that they were not given appropriate permission to enter the campus.
However, the injured students and teachers NewsClick spoke to refute the claims of the police.
Professor Sucharita Sen from Centre for Studies in Regional Development, who sustained grievous injuries in the attack, recalled that she was stopped at the gate by the attackers when she was bleeding profusely. She said, “The policemen were stationed at the gate but did not stop the attackers, nor helped me out of the gate to go to the hospital. The institutions which were responsible for protecting the campus, i.e. the security group appointed by the JNU administration, the JNU administration itself and the Delhi police, utterly failed in their duty.” She added, “Now, for the police to give themselves a clean chit is like the accused being the judge in the crime for which they are implicated.”
Commenting on the investigation and the action taken in the case, Prof Sen said, “Though I was attacked and grievously injured along with others, the important issue is what has happened to the campus and the university in a collective sense post 5th January. This violence is the first of its kind in the history of the university to which I feel, like many others, deeply attached. I feel disappointed that we all are affected by collective trauma, which has not been addressed.”
Recalling the horrific attack on his wife, Bikramaditya Kumar Chaudhary, Assistant Professor at Centre for Studies in Regional Development, told NewsClick that the police control room is yet to respond to the calls during the attack. He said, “My wife and I made 17 calls to the police control during 6 PM and 8 PM. They did not even bother to reply or see if the victim was safe or needed any assistance. Later, we made our complaint to the police and submitted the visual evidence to them. The conduct of the Delhi Police seriously undermined our confidence in them.”
A student from the Centre of Russian Studies, who was injured and requested anonymity for legal reasons, told NewsClick, “It is not okay for us. Whenever l recall the violence, it disturbs me deeply. I do not want to recall it. The policemen were stationed before the incident, during the incident and after the incident. They are lying about the fact that they were not given permission (to enter the campus). I made my complaint through due process after the incident. Even after submitting the evidence, the police did not take any action.”
Aishe Ghosh, President of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union, whose injured pictures sent shock waves and triggered outrage across the country, said, ”On the day of the violence, I had repeatedly messaged the then SHO, an Inspector of Vasant Kunj North PS and other police officials regarding the carnage and assembly of people with weapons. Despite repeated appeals, police had given a word that everything was fine. Then how did the masked people from outside enter the university and why wasn't it stopped?”
Ghosh said that the police were yet to file the FIR on her complaint. She said, “The extent of police lethargy can be gauged from the fact that ABVP people blocked my exit route while I was being taken to the hospital and nothing was done even after repeated pleas. Till date no FIR has been registered on my complaint and complaints submitted by other students who were assaulted. This clean chit is hence the police trying to wash its hands of the whole thing as if nothing happened.”