India Today sting operation reveals role of BJP student wing activists behind JNU attack

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NEW DELHI: A sting operation by India Today has exposed the attempt by Delhi police to shield affiliates of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party involved in the masked mob attacks on students and teachers at Jawaharlal Nehru University by implicating students with Left affiliation.

 

An undercover investigation carried out by India Today revealed the role of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the saffron party, behind the brutal violence on January 5, which sparked protests across the country. The attack left more than 30 students and teachers injured. The masked mob also damaged property and vehicles.

In the sting operation, a first-year student of JNU, who claimed to be affiliated to ABVP, admitted to "mobilising men from outside" and leading the attack by masked vigilantes and 20 ABVP members on teachers and students, and vandalising hostels on the evening of January 5.

The student, Akshat Awasthi, said streetlights being switched off just before and during the attack was the work of "police, administration... whose police is it?" The lights were switched off, he said, as that was when "we were mobilising".

In the sting operation, Awasthi said that on Sunday he called the "organisational secretary of ABVP", whom he named, but it was beeped out in the telecast. Following their chat, he mobilised Sunday evening's hooliganism, he claimed.

The student said the attack was carried out as revenge for an attack that Left students had allegedly carried out on some ABVP residents of the Periyar hostel earlier in the day.

The ABVP tweeted to deny that Awasthi is associated with the organisation. Akshat Awasthi is neither an office bearer, nor a karyakarta of ABVP, as claimed by @IndiaToday. This is a smear campaign run by India Today to deviate everyone from the facts put forth by @DelhiPolice proving #LeftBehindJNUVoilence, an ABVP tweet said.

However, as part of its investigation, India Today also reported that former JNU Students’ Union president and Left activist Geeta Kumari admitted that she was part of the attack on the server room on January 4. She said the servers were shut down because the vice chancellor had not met them to address their demands. The server rooms were shut to prevent the administration from functioning, Kumari said.

The Delhi Police had on Friday said they have identified nine people as the attackers in connection with the violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University last week. The suspects included JNU Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh, who was among the 34 people injured during a violent mob attack on campus on Sunday.

The police released photographs of the alleged attackers and identified them as Chunchun Kumar, Pankaj Mishra, Waskar Vijay, Sucheta Talukdar, Priya Ranjan, Dolan Samanta, Yogendra Bhardwaj and Vikas Patel. Seven of these people were from the Left-backed All India Students Association and two from the RSS-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad.

The media briefing by the police on Friday has raised further questions about the impartiality of the probe. The police named students even as they maintained that the investigation is at a preliminary stage. However, the cops are silent on questions why didn’t they arrest the named students if they found them as guilty.

The briefing repeatedly harped on the Left affiliation of some of the students named while staying silent about the others (independently identified as ABVP activists). Revelations by the India Today undercover investigation raise further questions. (With inputs from media reports)

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