A mother whose daughter is nursing multiple stitches on her heavily bandaged head and a fractured arm is proud of her; the father says she is a fighter who will soldier on.
Aishe Ghosh, the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students’ union president, suffered a deep gash on her head after she was hit with an iron rod by masked goons on the campus on Sunday evening.
Asked how she felt on seeing the profusely bleeding Aishe on TV, mother Sarmishtha told The Telegraph: “Obviously, I am very proud of her.”
Aishe’s return to the university on Monday with the resolve to resist her attackers has made her a hero for many.
Aishe’s grandmother Shanti Sinha in Durgapur on Monday. Picture by Swapna Barua
Sarmishtha said late on Monday afternoon that she had been able to speak to her daughter only once since Sunday evening.Aishe did not say much about her pain. “Ami beshi katha bolini (I did not say much). Just asked how she was. She knows we are very tense. So, she was concerned for us,” Sarmistha said.
Aishe’s mother demanded the JNU vice-chancellor’s resignation. “The VC should resign. All the students are his children, aren’t they? Instead of protecting them, he was nowhere on the campus when such a big incident happened! He used men from outside (for the attack),” she said.
Aishe’s 83-year-old maternal grandmother Shanti Sinha, too, held the VC responsible for the present condition of the university but added that she was not worried or scared for her granddaughter. “Aishe has always been brave and I am sure she will not stop her fight for justice after the attack. She will only get stronger. I fully support her. I am not worried or scared,” she said.
“We sent her to study at JNU because of its reputation and academic standards. But because of the VC, everything is ruined. He is responsible for the present condition of the university,” Shanti said. “It has been over 70 days since the crisis (over fee hike that the students are protesting) began, but the VC has not initiated any dialogue with the students…. When they held a peaceful protest on November 18, the students were beaten up by police. Then, too, the VC did nothing, the HRD ministry did nothing.”
Aishe’s father Debasish Ghosh, a Damodar Valley Corporation employee in Durgapur, got to know about the assault from local journalists on Sunday evening. Soon, calls and messages poured in.
“I am not worried about my daughter. She is a fighter. Her cause is right and her methods are peaceful. My daughter cannot be stopped with physical attacks by goons,” said Debasish, who had to go to Barrackpore for an eye surgery on Monday.
Several rallies were held in Durgapur on Monday to show solidarity with Aishe. “I have known Aishe all her life, and her fight against the fee hike is just,” said Dilip Chatterjee, a DVC employee who joined a protest rally.