Power and internet cut at Jawaharlal Nehru University during controversial BBC documentary screening on PM Modi

JNUSU President claimed two students were throwing stones during a screening of a controversial BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 24
Pic: @MayukhDuke
Pic: @MayukhDuke

Two Jawaharlal Nehru University students have claimed they were assaulted and harassed by members of the students union, an allegation denied by JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh, who said they were involved in throwing stones at a gathering watching a controversial BBC documentary about Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, January 24 night.

The Left-backed AISA (All India Students' Association), whose members took part in the screening of the documentary, rejected the allegation, claiming they caught two Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) members but they were not harassed. Giving more details about this, AISA JNU President Qasim said, "We caught them when they threw stones at us but did not harass them in any form."

Further, the police said they have received cross-complaints from both Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNSU) and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). There was no immediate official response from the JNU administration to the allegations and counter-claims of the students. It had on Monday, in an advisory, said the JNSU had not taken its permission for the event and it should be cancelled, warning of strict disciplinary action, as stated in a report by PTI

Adding more, the report said, on Tuesday night, several students, who gathered at the JNU students' union office for a screening of the BBC documentary, claimed the university administration cut power and internet to stop the event and staged a protest after stones were thrown at them. They claimed that they were attacked when they were watching the documentary on their mobile phones as the screening could not be held.

Some alleged that the attackers were ABVP members, a charge the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-affiliated student body denied. JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh said they caught two ABVP members who threw stones at them. "We were peacefully watching the documentary on our cell phones as the university snapped the power and Internet. ABVP goons threw stones at us. We caught two of them," she said.

Of the two caught was Gaurav, a second-year post-graduate student of the university, who denied that he threw any stone. He claimed that he was assaulted by JNUSU members. "I was out on the campus with my friends for tea when I noticed that a large number of people have gathered. I noticed the commotion before I could react. Several people surrounded me and grabbed me by the neck. I pleaded with them that I am a heart patient and have anxiety issues. But they started dragging and made several allegations against me," Gaurav claimed. He is affiliated with ABVP but claimed that he was unaware of any development on the campus, as stated in a report by PTI. The other student claimed, "I was out with my friends when they caught and harassed me."

Late on Tuesday night, raising slogans of "Inqlaab Zindabad" and against the JNU administration, the protesting students marched to the Vasant Kunj police station to lodge a complaint against the "stone pelters". Giving more details about this, a senior police officer said, "We have received cross-complaints from JNSU and ABVP. We are looking into the complaints and further action will be taken accordingly." 

On the power cut at the campus, a JNU administration official, requesting anonymity told PTI, "There is a major (power) line fault at the university. We are looking into it. The engineering department is saying it will be resolved at the earliest."

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