Hours after the Jawaharlal Nehru University election committee suspended the counting process on Saturday, September 15 morning, 12 student organisations issued a joint statement blaming Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for “indulging in vandalism” and “physically attacking EC members” during the counting.
“Shocked! Never seen something like this in JNU. ABVP goons broke glass doors and forcibly tried to enter the #JNUSU_Election2018 counting venue last night. They attacked the members of Election Committee and tried to snatch ballot boxes. Counting suspended,” tweeted Shehla Rashid, former Vice President of the JNU Students' Union.
“Late night on Friday, the Election Committee made announcements calling for candidates to send their counting agents for central panel votes from the combined schools (science schools and smaller schools). ABVP did not send counting agents even after the last call was made. Long after sealed ballot boxes were opened and counting began, ABVP demanded that its agents be allowed in, and resorted to violence.
As per established norms and convention, nobody other than Election Committee members are allowed inside the counting station once counting begins. It must be noted the same rule was applied to the counting agents for the post of Councillors from the United Left for the School of Language, Literature and Cultural Studies, who could not be present on time. The EC's decision was accepted by the candidates and agents,” reads the statement.
As many as 12 student’s organisations such as AISA, NSUI, BAPSA, SFI have signed the statement.
Demanding that ABVP members be kept out of the counting venue, the student organisations said that ABVP undermines the sanctity of the student Election Committee.
“They (ABVP) broke the door of SIS-I building where counting is happening, and the barricades in front. They manhandled the guards on duty, snatched phones from people who were video recording and also assaulted some of the journalists who were present there. The joint secretary candidate from ABVP even started threatening that he won't let the election process to proceed. These acts of vandalising public property and attacking the students, EC members and guards are nothing but the reflection of their frustration of being rejected by the student community.”
Student’s organisations blamed ABVP members such as Saurabh Sharma, Lalit Pandey (ABVP Presidential candidate) and Venkat Choubey (ABVP Joint Secretary Candidate) for vandalism and attempting to capture ballots.
“They even tried to capture the ballots, which the EC managed to prevent. They manhandled and injured some EC members,” alleged student’s organisations.
ABVP however has denied the charges. Vivekanand Vichar Manch, an ABVP affiliate in JNU has accused EC members of favouritism and supporting Left ideology.
*This is a developing story and will be updated