JNU Violence: Centre Says Police Get Vital Clues On Masked Assailants, No Arrests Yet
The Delhi Police was yet to make any arrest three days after the attack on students and teachers of the Jawaharlal Nehru University even as the Centre said on Wednesday that the police got vital clues about the identities of the masked assailants and is on the verge of cracking the case.
As JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar continued to face criticism for not taking immediate measures when violence broke out on the JNU campus on Sunday evening, he was advised by the Human Resources Development Ministry to take steps to restore normalcy. Kumar was also urged by the ministry officials during a meeting to be more communicative with students and the faculty and to take them into confidence and facilitate the semester registration process.
With a breakthrough elusive, government sources said the Delhi Police has obtained vital leads and a lot of positive efforts were going on for the identification of the masked people who were seen indulging in the violence on JNU campus.
The sources said police personnel were on "extra alert" on Wednesday following mobilisation of students and teachers on the campus.
The situation on the campus remained tense amid heavy police deployment even as several students continue to stay off-campus after the Sunday violence. Only students with valid identification card are being allowed inside the campus.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southwest) Devender Arya said the situation in JNU is under control. "At the request of JNU administration, the police presence will continue," he added.
As the demand for Kumar's resignation grew louder, JNU Teachers' Association said the attack on the campus could not have been possible without the connivance of the varsity administration and deliberate inaction by police. It also slammed Kumar for asking students to put the past behind and return to the varsity premises.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram took a dig at Kumar, saying he should take his own advice of putting the past behind and leave the university.
"Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare and GC Hosur had a meeting with JNU VC at the ministry today about the efforts being made to restore normalcy on campus. He informed the officials about efforts being made for facilitating semester registration for willing students and a conducive environment for their academic pursuits," a HRD ministry official said.
On Sunday, a mob of masked men stormed the campus and targeted students in three hostels, unleashing mayhem with sticks, stones and iron rods, hitting inmates and breaking windows, furniture and personal belongings.
Police officials also said they have received 11 complaints, including one lodged by a professor in connection with the violence.
The police has come under attack for not acting when the mob was running riot on the campus, and especially for naming student union leaders, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh in the two FIRs related to vandalism on the campus. No one has been named as an accused in the case.
Following this, Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury alleged the Delhi Police was a "puppet" of the Modi government and demanded a court-monitored probe into the JNU violence, saying a "pre-judged" police inquiry has no "credibility".
The Congress said it was the "new normal" in the country with the victim being named rather than the perpetrator.
On Wednesday, political leaders and activists continued to flock to the university campus to express solidarity with the students.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader and party MP M Kanimozhi interacted with university students, including Aishe Ghosh.
"The entire country is with you. Don't lose heart. There are many people who have condemned it. We will raise the issue. We will fight for you," she told the students.
A fact finding committee of the Congress comprising India Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev, party MP from Ernakulam Hibi Eden, former NSUI president of JNU unit Syed Nasser Hussain and former National Students' Union of India president and former president of Delhi University Students' Union Amrita Dhawan interacted with students on the issue. Statements of students were video-graphed.
Dev slammed the HRD Ministry and the Delhi government for not sending a fact finding committee even to talk to the students who faced the attack.
There was also a war of words over actress Deepika Padukone going to the JNU to express solidarity with the students on Tuesday.
On one hand, there were calls to boycott her upcoming movie 'Chhapaak', while on the other several lauded her move to back JNU students.
Amid calls, including from some Bharatiya Janata Party functionaries, to boycott the movie, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said not just artistes, even a common man can go anywhere to express their opinion in a democracy like India.
Outside the campus, support grew louder for the JNU students.
The Delhi University Coordination Committee took out a march to express solidarity with the JNU students and against alleged police inaction.
The students at St. Stephen College also boycotted classes in solidarity with the JNU students and in protest against the amended citizenship law.