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Uneasy calm in JNU, women students leave campus

Source: PTI
Last updated on: January 06, 2020 23:49 IST
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A day after they were attacked in what they believed was their safe refuge, many students in Jawaharlal Nehru University on Monday were both angry and fearful with some demanding that the guilty be booked and others saying they were going home.

IMAGE: Police and the media at the main gate of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), in New Delhi, on Monday. Photograph: Atul Yadav/PTI Photo

There was an uneasy calm in the campus where there was a massive deployment of security personnel and authorities only allowed students with valid ID cards inside.

However, these measures did not assuage the concerns of students over their safety.

Some were heading back to their home and some to their relatives' place as fear gripped several women students who were leaving the campus on Monday.


The women students were seen wheeling their bags out of their hostels and leaving the south Delhi campus after a mob of masked young people stormed the university on Sunday and systematically targeted students in three hostels, unleashing mayhem with sticks, stones and iron rods, hitting inmates and breaking windows, furniture and personal belongings.

Many girls students leaving the campus requested anonymity and said their parents were concerned following the violence on campus on Sunday evening.

Pancham, who was leaving the Koyna hostel -- one of the three hostels that witnessed violence -- said she was leaving the campus fearing for her safety.

IMAGE: Students leaving the JNU campus after Sunday's violence. Photograph: Atul Yadav/PTI Photo

"My parents too are concerned about my safety," the second-year student of MA Sociology said as she was heading back to her home in Haryana.

Mallika Sinha, a computer science student from Nepal who lives in the Yamuna Hostel, said she received a call from her parents asking her to leave the campus.

The student, who was staying at Yamuna hostel, said her parents insisted that she moved to her relatives residence in Gurugram.

However, there were exceptions as many said they would stay put.

Monica, who goes by her first name, said she would not leave campus despite pleas by her parents.

"I am the president of the Sabarmati hostel. I have certain responsibility, so I cannot leave," she added.

Shreya Ghosh, a resident of Shipra Hostel, asked how could goons enter the campus with rods and sticks and said, "The attack could not have happened without the connivance of the administration and police."

She claimed that she had to hide in Sabaramati Hostel after the masked men chased her and some other people.

At Sabarmati Hostel's girls' hostels many rooms were found locked. A woman student said that many women had left the campus after Sunday's incident.

IMAGE: Articles scattered in a room of the Sabarmati Hostel following Sunday's violence. Photograph: Atul Yadav/PTI Photo

Akarsh Ranjan from Periyar hostel said students had received threats that they should not come out of their rooms.

According to other residents of Periyar hostel, a group of masked people had entered their hostel around 4.30 pm and banged on doors, forcing many students to flee the hostel from back door exits.

Many of them went without food on Sunday night as the food had to be thrown away.

"The food was prepared by 4.30 pm on Sunday. After we heard that students were barging in, we locked the mess and went upstairs. They broke open the mess door.

"They did not touch the food but we did not feed it to students because we were scared they might have mixed something in it," said OP Tiwari, a mess employee.

He said the food was prepared for 550 students, including for those living in Godavari Hostel, where some renovation is going on.

A resident of the hostel, however, alleged that glass pieces had been mixed in the food.

Aman Kumar, a PhD scholar said a mob had vandalised the mess around 4 pm.

"They were banging on the door but my roommate and I pushed one of the beds against it so that they could not enter. We left from a back-door. I had food at Koyna Hostel and spent the night at Lohit Hostel. I came to collect some things at my hostel around midnight but all the rooms were locked," he said.

Kumar claimed many students had left Godavari Hostel out of fear.

Another student, Ram Kishore, alleged that people wearing masks and banged on the doors.

"I went to Kishangarh to stay at my cousin's place where I had dinner," he said.

A Kashmiri student, requesting anonymity said, he was also chased by the mob along with other students and he had to jump from the first floor of the hostel to save himself.

"We were 3-4 friends inside a room. Suddenly, some of our friends came running and said, 'The ABVP is coming with lathis and rods'. We latched the room but within a few seconds, they started banging on it with lathis. They also broke glass windows on top of the door. Scared, we opened the balcony door and jumped from the first floor. Otherwise they would have killed us," the student said.

He said he is planning to go home after registering for the semester.

Surya Prakash, a visually challenged student, said he was scared after being attacked in Sunday's violence.

"They came to my room and beat with me rods. I told them I am blind but they continued the assault. I have been hit badly and I will have to go for an X-ray. I'm scared after yesterday's violence," Prakash said.

IMAGE: Police personnel stand guard at the main gate of JNU. Photograph: Atul Yadav/PTI Photo

He claimed that he was getting phone calls from his attackers threatening him to not talk to the media.

Masood, a student pursuing PhD in Urdu, claimed that he was attacked because he was from Kashmir.

Students also said that as the masked people attacked students on Sunday, many fled to the Sabarmati hostel to save themselves.

The residents had latched the gate to prevent their entry but the attackers carrying rods and sticks broke the door and entered the boys' wing.

They tried to enter the girls' wing but the women formed a human chain to prevent their entry.

They even took the male residents of the hostel to their rooms to shield them from the attackers.

A student claimed that when the rampage took place, there were no security guards around.

"There are almost 250 security guards in the campus. Usually two are deployed at hostels, but when the mob went on a rampage, there were no security guards there, not even at the women's hostels --Shipra and Koyna," the student claimed.

At the entrance of Sabarmati Hostel, the premises was littered with shards of glass and some students were seen clearing the debris.

The hostel mess was also damaged in the violence on Sunday evening when the mob had gone on a rampage, vandalising property and attacking the staff and students, including the JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh.

The mob also entered two other hostels -- Periyar and Koyna -- where they took to vandalism.

Edited by Roshneesh Kmaneck

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