Published: 10th February 2024
JNU: Left groups, ABVP clash during late night meeting for Student Union elections
Videos circulated by both parties show members of both ABVP and Left organisations heckling each other, arguing, and sloganeering
On the path to the elections of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union (JNUSU) in 2024, a clash broke out between the members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and several Left and progressive groups late on Friday, January 9.
This scuffle, which took place during the University General Body Meeting (UGBM) at the Sabarmati Dhaba on the campus, to form the Election Commission (EC) for the polls, left members of both sides with injuries. Both ABVP and the Left groups placed the blame on each other for the clash.
Speaking to EdexLive, Vikas Patel, Secretary of the JNU Unit of ABVP says that ABVP was cornered by the Left groups when they tried to participate in the UGBM.
“We boycotted the meeting with the Dean of Students which took place on February 5, as despite being in favour of the JNUSU elections, we believe that they must be conducted by an independent EC. The DoS has no business interfering with the elections. However, we decided to participate in the UGBM, as we saw that the quorum received a huge mandate, and many students wanted the elections to happen,” he explained.
Vikas adds that when students from ABVP arrived at the UGBM, the Left organisations neither expected them to be there nor wanted them to. “We selected two speakers from ABVP to represent us in the UGBM, but they were heckled and not allowed to speak. The student groups there even raised slogans that threatened violence against ABVP,” he alleged.
He further accuses the Left groups, particularly the Students’ Federation of India (SFI) and the Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF) of even physically attacking the ABVP members. “These members, who were repeat offenders in cases of campus violence, attacked us when we tried to resist,” he says and adds that a physically disabled student was also attacked by the Left groups.
However, Swati Singh, President of DSF and former Councillor of the JNUSU refuted the allegations by ABVP, stating that the violence was not initiated by any of the non-ABVP organisations at the UGBM.
“The UGBM was happening smoothly before ABVP arrived. All organisations had assembled near the stage and were sloganeering. However, ABVP not only arrived late after the UGBM began, but also got onto the stage and accused the JNUSU of conducting the UGBM without the required quorum as soon as they arrived,” she said.
When shown otherwise, the ABVP members cut the power supply of the microphone and speakers, Swati alleges. They even started attacking Aishe Ghosh, JNUSU President and other members of the JNUSU, she adds.
She further alleges that ABVP was present at the UGBM just to “create ruckus”, and had no intention of participating – as it had not been a part of the struggle for JNUSU elections.
“ABVP has boycotted the all-organisation meeting with the DoS on February 5, claiming that the Left parties are seeking the administration’s interference in the JNUSU elections. However, the meeting was publicly notified by the office of the DoS to all groups,” says Swati, adding that the UGBM must be conducted only after the DoS issues a notification for the JNUSU elections.
“Attending the UGBM late after it commenced, trying to occupy the seats closest to the stage, heckling JNUSU members, and even attacking students – it was clear that ABVP was trying its best to obstruct the JNUSU elections, as they do not want to lose right before the Lok Sabha elections,” she adds.
Furthermore, she alleges that the ABVP, in cohorts with the administration, has been trying to “create a facade” that the current JNUSU is not legitimate.
Videos circulated by both parties show members of both ABVP and Left organisations heckling each other, arguing, and sloganeering as security personnel of the university tried to contain the situation.
Vikas Patel revealed that ABVP has filed a complaint with the Delhi Police last night, February 9. The Delhi police told PTI that it is in touch with the JNU administration and is probing the matter and that there have been no complaints from JNUSU or Left groups.
According to the JNUSU, the UGBM has been adjourned and will be reconducted on Monday with a fresh quorum, as per the JNU Constitution.