A masked mob tore through an Indian university. Why didn't police act?

Wednesday, 08 Jan, 2020

Most of those injured, including students and teachers, had said the ABVP was behind the violence - a charge the outfit denies.

Mr Surya Prakash, 25, a research scholar, had his headphones on and was studying in his room on Sunday evening when a mob of seven people broke down his door and barged into his room. It said JNU is known for peaceful and democratic protests.

Eyewitnesses said attackers shouted a slogan used by India's ruling right-wing Hindu nationalist party as they beat students and destroyed property. The student union blames the BJP-allied ABVP student group for the attack.

"I was specifically targeted on Sunday during a peace march on campus".

"They made an attempt to kill that union president".

Ms Sucheta Talukdar, 21, hid under a sink in a small eatery on campus to escape the mob.

However, other students and faculty have disputed the administration's version of events.

To note, Delhi Police filed a third FIR on Monday, in connection to the horrific violence, which left over 20, including teachers and students, injured. "There were even posters of free Kashmir", the DCP said while appealing students and others to shift their protest to Azad Maidan.

The rampage was condemned across the board, including by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, a JNU alumna. Students and activists have continued their protests against the Citizenship Act for several weeks now despite warnings by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his government that there would be no rollback in the law. In December students reacted angrily against the amended Citizenship Act, which aims to make it easier for non-Muslim migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh to become Indian nationals.

When the violence ended with more than 30 people wounded, the questions only deepened: Who were the assailants and why didn't police - who have lately been accused of using extreme force against demonstrators - stop the attack?

JNU, long seen as a bastion of left-wing politics, is in the forefront against the recent NRP and CAA protests. Delhi police said the FIRs were registered in connection with vandalism at the server room at the JNU on a complaint from the university administration on January 5.

Following the incident, Kumar had given his statement on Twitter, "The origin of the present situation in JNU lies in some agitating students turning violent and obstructing the academic activities of a large number of non-protesting students".

"Police is taking the help of video footage as well as face recognition system to identify the culprits", the sources said on Tuesday.