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JNU: Protestors detained while on their way to police headquarters

ABVP says Left supporters had stalled a Ram Navami puja in Kaveri Hostel in Jawaharlal Nehru University
Injured JNU students and supporters of the All India Students Association address the  media in New Delhi on Monday. An MA sociology student, Akhtarista Ansari, is seen  with a bandage on her forehead. Ansari had been photographed in 2019 while shielding a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, where she studied then, from police batons during  a protest against the new citizenship regime.
Injured JNU students and supporters of the All India Students Association address the media in New Delhi on Monday. An MA sociology student, Akhtarista Ansari, is seen with a bandage on her forehead. Ansari had been photographed in 2019 while shielding a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, where she studied then, from police batons during a protest against the new citizenship regime.
PTI Photo

Pheroze L. Vincent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 12.04.22, 03:24 AM

Several students from Jawaharlal Nehru University as well as Left activists from other campuses were detained by police in different parts of New Delhi district on Monday as they tried to reach the police headquarters to protest against the violence a day earlier.

Several students were injured in Sunday’s clashes between supporters of the RSS-backed ABVP and the Left-led JNU Students Union.

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The ABVP’s claims were echoed in a statement by registrar Ravikesh. The ABVP had said Left supporters had stalled a Ram Navami puja in Kaveri Hostel in JNU, while the JNUSU said the ABVP tried to prevent non-vegetarian food from being served in the mess on religious grounds, which led to the clash.

Ravikesh said in the statement on Monday: “It was the occasion of Rama Navami and Hawan was organised by the students in the Kaveri Hostel and there were students who were objecting to this. The wardens and Dean of Students tried to pacify and the Hawan was concluded peacefully. Despite this, some group of students were not happy with this and soon after, at the time of dinner, a ruckus was created over there and heated arguments were followed by altercation between both groups.”

Ravikesh added: “The Wardens clarified on the spot and issued a notice when the ruckus was going among students that there is no bar on serving non-vegetarian food.”

The registrar’s note ended with an appeal for peace without any mention of disciplinary action. Footage released by the JNUSU on Sunday showed students wearing orange kurtas heckling a poultry supply vendor.

Kaveri Hostel president Navin Kumar denied the registrar’s claims that the puja was disrupted, adding that he had participated in it. The NSUI leader told The Telegraph: “After the puja and iftar were over, when dinner was served at 7.30pm, food was inadequate as the ABVP supporters had chased away the poultry vendor. When I was talking to the wardens, ABVP boys from other hostels came and started heckling. Soon, this degenerated into a clash. When the vice-chancellor (Santishree Dhulipudi Pandit) came at night, I was not given a chance to speak as the ABVP members surrounded her. Today, we see the misleading press release.”

The police announced on Monday morning that they had filed an FIR on a complaint from the JNUSU, SFI, Democratic Students Federation and Aisa under Sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (wrongful restraint), 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

The FIR was filed in the early hours of Monday. The police acted after students protested at Vasant Kunj (North) police station at midnight. DCP (South West) Manoj C. said in a statement: “Students belonging to ABVP have also intimated that they will be giving the complaint today morning. On receipt of the same, appropriate legal action will be taken.”

Subsequently, the police filed a second FIR on similar charges on a complaint from JNU ABVP activist Shivam Chaurasia. He accused Left groups and the Congress’s National Students Union of India of indulging in violence and intimidating students who were participating in the Ram Navami puja.

An MA sociology student, Akhtarista Ansari, received four stitches on her forehead at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Sunday night after being struck on her head with a projectile.

A member of CPIML Liberation’s Aisa, Ansari was in the news in 2019 when she was photographed shielding a student of Jamia Millia Islamia, where she studied then, from police batons during a protest against the new citizenship regime.

Five Left parties -- the CPI, CPM, RSP, AIFB and the CPIML Liberation – issued a joint statement against the “imposition of food habits” on Monday. They said: “The ABVP is now claiming that Left activists attacked the Ram Navami puja. This is completely untrue. Even the photos of the puja shared by ABVP leaders of JNU on social media show that there was no disturbance of the event.”

The five parties added: “The imposition of food habits and attacking students follows a pattern of bullying of Muslims and dissenters across the country by the RSS and its affiliate organisations. Be it in Karnataka where Muslims fruit sellers are being targeted or in Delhi where the SDMC mayor illegally asked all meat and fish shops to be closed during Navratri, the RSS and the BJP want to impose their Brahminical worldview on others with scant respect for the right to food habits and respect of diversity and difference guaranteed by the Constitution to all citizens of this country. We… demand that Delhi police and the JNU administration take strong action against the ABVP and call upon citizens to resist the imposition of food habits upon citizens of the country.”

The police are yet to complete their probe into violence of a larger scale on the campus in 2020 during which several teachers and students, including students’ union president Aishe Ghosh, were attacked. This was blamed on the ABVP but none of its activists was named by the police.



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