JNU violence: Delhi Police names Aishe Ghosh, 8 others as suspects; JNUSU chief dares cops to make evidence public

  • However, the police didn't name any group for the brutal attack by masked goons on students and teachers in the evening on 5 January

  • Union Ministers Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal and Smriti Irani who said the 'Left design' had been 'unmasked' by the evidence collected by the police

  • Left leaders in turn accused the Delhi Police of being a 'government stooge' and said the question still remained on the identity of the masked people photographed at Sabarmati hostel

Five days after at least 36 people were injured in the incident of violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Delhi Police named JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh and eight others as suspects in the violence that took place between 3 to 5 January. However, the police didn't name any group for the brutal attack by masked goons on students and teachers in the evening on 5 January.

The preliminary findings in the probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) which also released pictures of the nine suspects, were seized upon by three Union Ministers — Prakash Javadekar, Piyush Goyal and Smriti Irani — who said the "Left design" in the varsity has been "unmasked" by the evidence collected by the police. Meanwhile, HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said the involvement of JNU students in the violence as pointed out in the police probe was "unfortunate".

 JNU violence: Delhi Police names Aishe Ghosh, 8 others as suspects; JNUSU chief dares cops to make evidence public

Joy Tirkey, DCP (Crime Branch) of Delhi Police at the presser. PTI

Left leaders, in turn, accused the Delhi Police of being a "government stooge" and said the question still remained on the identity of the masked people photographed at Sabarmati hostel at JNU on Sunday evening, who unleashed violence on campus for three hours with sticks, rods and sledgehammers. Congress' Ajay Maken demanded the removal of the Delhi police chief, terming the investigation in the cases "shoddy".

The police also claimed that the 5 January violence was a fallout protest against the proposed fee hike and the online registration process. They added that tension was brewing in the university since 1 January.

Delhi Police names nine suspects

Addressing a press conference, Joy Tirkey, DCP (Crime Branch), who is heading the SIT, said the Student Federation of India (SFI), All India Students Association (AISA), Democratic Students Federation (DSF) and All India Student Federation (AISF) had been allegedly "creating nuisance and threatening the students" against the recently started online admission for the winter semester in the varsity.

Those identified are Dolan Samanta, Priya Ranjan, Sucheta Talukdar, Ghosh, Bhaskar Vijay Mech, Chunchun Kumar (an alumni) and Pankaj Mishra. The other two suspects named by police are Vikas Patel and Yogendra Bharadwaj. Police sources told PTI the two are from the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).

However, no one has been detained. Tirkey said notices will be served to all the suspects. He did not take any questions after the media briefing. The officer said Ghosh and eight others were involved in an attack at the Periyar hostel on 5 January.

Tirkey also said that a WhatsApp group named 'Unity Against Left', believed to have been formed while the violence escalated, is also under the scanner. He added that Bharadwaj has been identified as the administrator of the group.

However, the ABVP claimed that the two members named as suspects by the police, Bharadwaj and Patel, were not involved in the 5 January attack in the campus and it will share evidences to that effect with the police.

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"Patel and Bharadwaj are scared after the incident. The Left activists have been putting up posters with their names on those and have created difficulties for them. They were not involved in the violence," the ABVP said.

Delhi Police is biased, says Aishe Ghosh; JNUSU says silence on ABVP's role 'deafening'

Rejecting the charges against the Left-leaning students, Ghosh, who was injured on 5 January attack, said she has not done anything wrong and all this is being done to create a narrative. Refuting the police's claims, she accused the Delhi Police of being "biased". On being named as one of the attackers during the violence, Ghosh said she too has evidence on how she was attacked.

"Delhi Police can do their inquiry. I also have evidence to show how I was attacked. I have full faith in the law and order of this country that investigation will be fair. I will get justice. But why is Delhi Police biased? My complaint has not been filed as an FIR. I have not carried out any assault," she said.

"The police should make public whatever proof it has against me," Ghosh added.

The JNUSU president also said the police was quick to take cognisance of the complaint filed by the JNU administration against her but has not registered an FIR on her complaint. After meeting HRD ministry officials, Ghosh said the JNUSU stand on its demand for the removal of JNU vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar stands but any decision on whether to call off the agitation against the fee hike will be taken later.

In a separate statement, the JNUSU accused the Delhi Police of speaking the language of the varsity's vice-chancellor and said those who were assaulted have been "implicated as suspects".

The police briefing was a litany of distortions, half-truths and outright lies, the JNUSU alleged.

"The most significant fact was that the DCP named all Left organisations but the name of the ABVP (Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad) was curiously missing," it said.

The silence of the police on the ABVP is "deafening" and its ploy to implicate the Left in the violence is an indication that this "investigation is a political investigation", the JNUSU added.

'Shoddy investigation': Congress, JNUTA slams Delhi Police

The JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) accused the Delhi Police of "underplaying" the violence and termed its version as "disturbing". The statement said, "Such underplaying of the incidents, which shocked the nation and subjected  several to extreme trauma, is deeply disturbing."

Accusing the Delhi Police of conducting a "shoddy" investigation into the JNU violence case, the Congress on Friday alleged that it was clearly influenced by the government, the home minister and the ruling party, and demanded the removal of the city police chief and the university's vice chancellor.

Congress' senior spokesperson Ajay Maken said question marks have been raised on the investigations by the Delhi police as it has "failed to carry out the probe independently" and identify the culprits.

"It is a shoddy investigation, to say the least. The victims have been made the accused. The investigation is clearly influenced by the government, the home minister and the ruling party," he told reporters.

The Congress also claimed that the police wrongly identified one of the suspects during the presser. It claimed that one of the suspects, whom the police showed a picture of and identified as 'Vikas Patel' in the press conference, was Shiv Pojan Mandal.

Delhi Police provides sequence of events leading up to 5 Jan violence

At the police briefing, Tirkey admitted that lack of CCTV footage was a major hurdle in the investigation. "The CCTV footage could not be fetched as the Wi-Fi-based system and the cameras were all disabled." He also said since the hostel rooms were specifically targeted, it indicates an insider's hand.

"JNU is so vast that the outsiders cannot figure out the hostel room in the spur of the moment," he claimed. Tirkey said tensions flared up on 5 January.

"At around 11.30 am, four students were tensed and sitting on a bench in front of the School of Social Science. A group came and there was an altercation between them over the admission process. The security staff who tried to save them also got injured," he said.

"At 3.45 pm, members of the four organisations went to Periyar Hostel and attacked the students there. Some JNUSU members were also there, including their president Aishe Ghosh," he said. Inside Periyar Hostel, some specific students were targeted, police said.

Thereafter, there was a peace meeting in which 120 to 130 students and teachers participated outside Sabarmati T-point between the Periyar and Sabarmati hostels.

"Meanwhile, a group came there with covered faces. They got into a scuffle with students at the T-Point and later barged into the Sabarmati Hostel. They knew which rooms were to be targeted," Tirkey said. However, the police did not name any group involved in the attack on the Sabarmati hostel.

Narrating the sequence, Tirkey said a majority of the students wanted to register for the winter semester from 1 to 5 January but alleged that the Left-leaning students' bodies were not allowing them to do so.

On 3 January, around 1 pm, members belonging to the four Left-wing student bodies barged into the server room, tampered with the server and shut it down. They also pushed the staff of the server room outside, Tirkey said.

"Around three to four hours later, the staff of the varsity restored the server. Thereafter, the police registered a complaint for assault, damaging public property and criminal intimidation," he said. An FIR naming Ghosh and others has already been filed by the JNU administration. However, she has not been named as an accused yet.

A day later, some miscreants again entered the server room from its rear side and vandalised the room, following which another FIR was registered in that matter, the officer said.

After meeting HRD ministry officials, the JNU VC said all decisions taken earlier at the ministry about the hostel fee are being implemented "in totality" and regular classes at the varsity will start from 13 January.

ABVP members admit to being part of 5 Jan violence, reports India Today

Even as the Delhi Police presser didn't name any suspects in the 5 January attack on Sabarmati hostel, an India Today report said that an ABVP member, Akshat Awasthi has admitted to being part of the mob that attacked students and faculty in the evening on 5 January.

"A first-year student of the French degree program at the JNU, Akshat Awasthi identified himself in footage of Sunday's attack — and as an activist of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP)," the report said.

However, ABVP demanded proof of their involvement.

JNU professors move Delhi HC to preserve data, CCTV footage

Three JNU professors on Friday approached the Delhi High Court seeking directions to preserve data, CCTV footage, and other evidence related to the incident of violence on 5 January.

The petition also sought directions for preservation and retrieval of all material/evidence available with WhatsApp, Google, and Apple pertaining to relevant data of WhatsApp groups 'Unity Against Left' and 'Friends of RSS' including messages, pictures, videos and phone numbers of the members, in connection with the violence at JNU, PTI reported.

The petition has been listed for hearing before Justice Brijesh Sethi on 13 January.

The petition, filed by Ameet Parameswaran, Atul Sood and Shukla Vinayak Sawant, seeks necessary directions to the Delhi Police Commissioner and Delhi government.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Jan 12, 2020 18:11:41 IST