Saurabh Sharma of the RSS-affiliated student’s union Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), was leading the violent mob that went on a rampage during counting of votes for students’ union elections in the wee hours of Saturday, September 15, a member of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Election Committee has told National Herald over the phone.
The JNU Election Committee comprises 50 members, all from the student body. The EC conducts the students’ union elections at the renowned university in the national capital, Delhi.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, the EC member said that the counting-process was going smoothly till 3.15 am on Saturday morning, but between 3.30 to 3.40 am over a dozen ABVP activists forcibly entered the counting room and tried to capture the ballot box.
“They manhandled EC members and misbehaved with girls also,” said the EC member. “We, the members of the JNUSU EC and representatives from the various students’ organisations, were present on the second floor of the SIS building when ABVP activists led by Saurabh Sharma barged into the counting room. They were shouting slogans like “hum counting nahi karne denge, humare bina counting karke dikhao [we won’t allow counting to take place, let’s see you to try to count without us],” she added.
“We were so scared that we tried to lock the door from inside but they forcibly entered. Seeing their aggressive behaviour we were petrified, especially the girls. We feared for our security. Some of girls were crying,” she said, adding that the JNU administration should take action against those culpable.
“They not only broke the rules but resorted to violent methods...broke the glass of the main door of the SIS building where counting was going on at the second floor and forced us to suspend the counting process,” she said.
When asked, did security personnel not try to stop ABVP members, the JNUSU EC member said, “they were very violent and outnumbered the security guards. So they easily overpowered them.”
Terming the whole incident a “shameful attempt” to malign JNU, the EC member told NH that the ABVP activists disappeared after the counting process was stopped
Narrating the whole sequence of violence which led to the suspension of the counting process, the EC member said that first an unknown member of the ABVP tried to barge into the counting room, accusing the EC of not informing them that counting was underway.
“However, it is not true. It is a blatant lie being spread by the ABVP. As per the rules, we gave three calls requesting student organisations to send their representatives to the counting room in order to start the process. Despite that, ABVP did not send any representative. About an hour after we opened the ballot box, the ABVP activist came along. Since we had already opened the ballot boxes, we did nor allow him to get in, she emphasised. “He was followed by the gang led by Saurabh Sharma,” she added.
“As per the rules, at least two representatives of the student organisations should be present in the counting room before EC opens the ballot box…yesterday, 14 members from different student organisations were present when we opened the ballot box…and all of them came hearing our calls…how can ABVP accuse us of partiality?,” asked the EC member.
“Two big speakers are set up there and voice is very clear. AVBP supporters cannot even say that the announcement was not audible,” pointed out the EC member.
Terming the whole incident a “shameful attempt” to malign JNU, the EC member told NH that the ABVP activists disappeared after the counting process was stopped.
“After this horrific incident, an all organisation meeting was called to decide further course of action. It was decided at all organisation meeting that ABVP first should tender a public apology in writing, then EC will resume the counting,” said the member of the JNUSU EC, adding that much of the counting process is still pending.
“Seeing the volume of the work, it will take at least next 24 hours to announce the final result,” she said.
National Herald tried several times to contact JNU ABVP members, including Gaurav Sharma, to get their version, but did not get a response. We will update this article with ABVP’s version of events if and when they respond to our calls and messages.