Published: 06th January 2020
JNU VC's emotion-less statement about attack is shockingly apathetic. Here's why
The origin of the present situation in JNU lies in some agitating students turning violent and obstructing the academic activities of a large number of non-protesting students, the VC tweeted
In a statement issued after masked intruders rained hell on JNU staff and students, JNU Vice Chancellor Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar appeared to trivialise the attack that has since shaken the nation. The attack on hostels, staff and students by masked intruders was brushed under the carpet with this singular remark, "Some masked miscreants also entered the Periyar Hostel rooms and attacked the students with sticks and rods. Some of the security guards doing their duty were also badly injured."
This is particularly surprising considering how much damage has been wreaked to the institution and at least 18 students have been admitted to AIIMS with serious injuries. The JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh has, in fact, been so badly injured that she was only just released from the hospital.
Instead, his statement dedicated a lot of space to students who were protesting against the fee hike. After referring to the fight between the pro and anti-registration groups as a 'scuffle', the VC said that it was the protestors who had damaged property in order to obstruct the winter registration. Students who have been on strike for nearly 70 days at JNU have been at loggerheads with others who have been siding with the administration.
A professor was also injured in the attack
The JNUSU and its supporters have been protesting against the fee hike for over a month and when the administration refused to completely roll back the fees, they had decided to boycott their exams and the winter registrations. They had been carrying out marches and protests along with the JNUTA to protest against the fees and did the same on January 5. Ironically, the protesters who Mamidala accused in his twitter, were led by JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh who recorded a video just after the attack with a profusely bleeding head.
"They (protesters) prevented thousands of students from doing their winter registration, their intent is clearly aimed at disrupting the functioning of the University," the VC tweeted this morning, "The origin of the present situation in JNU lies in some agitating students turning violent and obstructing the academic activities of a large number of non-protesting students. The protesting students damaged the communication servers to disrupt the winter semester registration."
He also promised to ensure that the winter registration is carried on without any hindrance, "The University will stand by all the students to facilitate their pursuit of academic activities," he said on Twitter.
In a statement about the incident, the Registrar said that from January 3, students were disrupting the 'smooth-flowing' process of the winter registration. "On January 5, when the students who have registered in the winter semester wanted to enter these school buildings, they are physically prevented by the agitating students. Since the afternoon, the campus has witnessed scuffles at the schools as well as inside the hostel premises between the groups of students who wanted to stop the registration and those who wanted to register and continue their studies," he said.
The Registrar specifically states that in the evening, a group of students 'who are against the registration process' moved aggressively from the front of the admin block and reached the hostels, "The administration immediately contacted the police to come quickly and maintain law and order on the campus. However, by the time the police came, the students who are for the registration were beaten up by a group of agitating students opposing the registration," he pointed out. However, students say that the police were already present on campus because the administration has anyway had the police on campus for a while but increased their presence after the violence that had taken place the previous day.
Hostel attacks also show that anti-fee hike protesters' rooms seemed to have been targetting several JNUSU members and popular faces of the protests had been 'hunted down' according to witnesses. However, the Registrar maintained that agitating students had been vandalising property since the last few days. "It is unfortunate that a group of students with their violent means of protests is preventing thousands of non-agitating students from pursuing their academic activities," he added. He also mentioned the attacks at Periyar hostel but did not mention Sabarmati which seems to have been the worst hit, according to the students.
They also went to say that they were 'pained' for students who have sustained injuries in the violence. "A police complaint is being filed to bring the culprits to book. The violators of University rules who are trying to disrupt the peaceful academic atmosphere of the campus will not be spared," the Registrar said. He also appealed to the students to 'not get provoked by misinformation'.