Immediately after masked men allegedly belonging to the RSS’ student wing ABVP, unleashed terror in the prestigious JNU, Delhi on Sunday evening, girl students were instructed to remain inside hostels until the situation returns to normalcy, amid fear of acid attacks.
A PhD Scholar from Centre for West Asian Studies (SIS) rushed to her hostel after mayhem broke out in one of the calmest campuses in India. She locked up herself inside her hostel room for more than 12 hours and came out only on Monday morning.
Her first-person account of the horror that gripped JNU on Sunday night:
“Since October 2019, the situation of JNU is tensed due to an unconstitutional and undemocratic fee hike. The ongoing protest against fee hike was to boycott winter semester registration since the commencement of this year. The administration has all the brutal measures to suppress the ongoing protest. On January 4, 2020, the violent tussle between the student outside School of International Studies and thrashing of protesting students by a professor, Tapan Bihari from CPS escalated the matter violently.
On January 5, students were protesting against the fee hike by boycotting registration. Around 2 in the afternoon, while I was sitting in the Library, some students gathered outside SSS2 (School of Social Sciences) demanding to take action against Tapan Bihari and to boycott the registration. It turned into minor violence between the left and the right-wing supporters. Within an hour, ABVP mobilized themselves in front of Vivekananda statue with lathis, bats, and iron rod to attack the students.
Our fellow students in the Library asked us to remain in groups or stay inside the Library. In the meanwhile, JNUTA gave a call to assemble at Sabarmati T-Point to ensure non-violence in the campus.
All the students from the Library and SSS2 started moving towards Sabarmati T-point to assemble. I was walking towards T-point when I saw people running in a different direction, and the masked mob with lathis, iron rods, stones were beating students and teachers whosoever they could lay their hands on. Everyone rushed to their hostels. I rushed back to my hostel when my hostel guard told me to stay inside because he had seen around 15-20 masked mob carrying bats, lathis, rods, and stones coming from Khajan Singh Gate and moving towards T-point.
Most of my friends hid in the jungle and the bushes to avoid the goons with knives and rods. This masked mob had some women too and they were also carrying orange flags. They were chanting “Bharat Mata ki Jai”. They were targeting students and asking them whether they had done our registration or not. When the students responded in negative, these goons beat them up ruthlessly.
They started breaking the hostels’ gates and thrashing hostel property and beating students inside the hostel. We were asked to lock ourselves inside the hostel and not to respond to any knocking on the doors. I was too scared to get out of my room to enquire about my injured friends as these goons were carrying acid bottles with them. I was locked inside my hostel from 6 pm to 11.30 pm, and no police intervened during this time.
There was a continuous mobilization of these goons at the North Gate of JNU, and I could hear the chanting to kill us. I wanted to go home as my parents were very concerned but I was too scared to even get out of my room.
By 11.30 pm, these goons left the campus when the common students mobilized at the North Gate and got the support of the students from another university. Delhi Police intervened only when the masked goons dispersed. JNU is not safe for anyone now. It is the scariest night in my life witnessing the inhumane brutality irrespective of the identity. I want everyone in JNU to be together and stay safe because we are on our own. Our administration, security, and police have failed to protect us.”