ABVP, Left-backed groups clash at JNU over selection of poll panel

Jawaharlal Nehru University : Shutterstock/mrinalpal

New Delhi: The tense situation in Jawaharlal Nehru University continued on Friday after a clash broke out between two groups over selection of election committee members at the School of Languages. Vice-Chancellor Santishree D Pandit on Friday said strict action will be taken against those involved irrespective of their political affiliation.

Some students were injured in the clash that occurred in the university's School of Languages building on Thursday night. An official of the university said some students have been admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital.

VC promises strict action
"The JNU (students' union) elections are conducted by students. It is their responsibility to ensure that it is a peaceful democratic process. The Inter-hostel Administration (IHA) oversees the conduct of the polls. Any complaints by the students' body will be looked into by the IHA. Very strict action will be taken against those found guilty irrespective of their political affiliation," Vice-Chancellor Santishree D Pandit said said.

The vice-chancellor also said once the medicolegal cases of students severely injured in the violence are done, the authority concerned will prepare a report and take appropriate action. Pandit warned the students that any act of violence on campus may lead to deferring the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) polls further.

The incident
In a video, a man is seen thrashing students with a stick while in another, a person is seen throwing a bicycle on students. Other purported videos also showed individuals being beaten up by a group even as security personnel of the university tried to rescue them. 

Students from both the ABVP and Left groups have filed police complaint against each other. The complaints were registered at Vasant Kunj North police station. 

"We received information about the clashes on the campus at 1.15 am. At least four students were injured. Multiple complaints have been received from both sides. Further inquiry is on," a police officer said.

The ABVP told PTI that two students seen in one of the videos beating others with a stick and throwing a bicycle were members of its JNU unit and claimed that they were trying to defend themselves.

On the other hand, Left-backed groups alleged that ABVP members, disgruntled by the selection of the election committee members, attacked JNUSU office bearers and other students.

JNUSU Joint Secretary Mohammad Danish, who was presiding the School General Body Meeting along with JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, claimed that he received threats to his life from ABVP members because of his religious identity. He also alleged that he was held hostage during the meeting.

"On the last day of the General Body Meeting at the School of Languages, ABVP resorted to another round of violence at the end of the meeting. Initially attempting to disrupt the selection process for the election committee, the ABVP resorted to violence against students when thwarted by JNU students," the Left-backed All India Students Association (AISA) claimed in a statement.

"Accompanied by Kanhaiya Kumar, a student of Japanese MA and the ring-leader of the SL (School of Languages) unit, the ABVP goons were seen wielding rods and targeting and beating common students indiscriminately. They singled out Muslim students and objected to the names of Muslim students being proposed for the election committee," it alleged.

The Left students' group claimed their members Shaurya and Madhurima Kundu, both pursuing PhD, and Priyam and Anwesha, students of MA Linguistics, were chased and beaten up by ABVP members. It also accused the JNU administration of shielding the RSS-affiliated student group.

The ABVP, in turn, accused the Left group of foul play in electing the candidates of the election committee and alleged that the politburo chief in the General Body Meeting tried to provide undue advantage to SFI candidates.

"In General Body Meeting at the School of Languages, the chief of Politburo unilaterally declared that first election committee candidates who have secured more than two-third of the seats will be automatically declared winners. In the counting process if 100 hands are being raised to support a candidate, then the Politburo chief counts it as 300.

"The open rigging in the counting of votes and imposition of self-made rules is a manifestation of autocracy akin to the system of Politburo," the ABVP said in a statement while claiming that its members were injured in the attack by the Left groups. 
(With PTI inputs.)

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