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Shradha Chettri & Abhay Singh | TNN | New Delhi | April 11, 2022:: Violent clashes broke out between two student groups on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Sunday evening allegedly over the serving of non-vegetarian food in a hostel even as the other student group had organised a havan on Ram Navmi .
At least 15 students were injured and taken to hospital. The administration has informed police about the clash.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had organised havan at the Kaveri Hostel on Sunday. The leftwing student group alleged that ABVP was not allowing non-veg food to be cooked, which is as per the set menu on the weekend, on the pretext of the puja. The issue over non-veg food started on Saturday itself, according to hostel residents. The supplier had come to the hostel on Sunday but was allegedly sent away by ABVP activists. The left-wing student group called a meet against ABVP’s imposition on their “right to food”.
By the time the meeting was held and the havan by ABVP activists also done, altercation started between students that soon turned into full-blown clashes. Police claimed that six people from both sides were injured. However, students said from each side at least 15 people were hurt. Some were taken to hospital. A sociology student, Akhtarishta, received injuries on her head- a little above the eye- and was bleeding. A resident of the hostel, Nitish, who had received injury on his foot and was limping said, “I am waiting for the ambulance.” Around 15 students from JNU have been taken to the emergency services at Safdarjung Hospital. “MLC (medico-legal certificiate) has been done for all of them. Some of them have got injuries on their forehead, stitches are done. No one has received any severe injuries,” said an official from Safdarjung Hospital.
According to the police, they received a call about the incident and rushed to the spot. The cops went in after the JNU administration allowed them to enter the campus in the evening. “When we entered the campus, we saw a rally was going on. We are now trying to maintain peace,” the officer said. The police are speaking with representatives of both student groups to find out the sequence of events that led to the clash. The police team has also spoken to the administration about the incident. “FIRs will be lodged as per the complaints received from the injured students. The MLCs at the hospital are being obtained for investigation. Statement of witnesses are also being recorded,” a senior official said. Dean Students’ Welfare Sudheer Pratap Singh had also reached the hostel and a meeting was ongoing with the hostel warden and others.
After the clash, the ABVP activists parked themselves at the main gate and shouted slogans and alleged that the left
After the clash, the ABVP activists parked themselves at the main gate and shouted slogans and alleged that the le .. wing student group was trying to politicise the issue. Shesh Mani, an ABVP activist, said, “The left wing is politicising the issue. All we wanted to say was that we wanted to do the havan and that they should let us do it peacefully.”
An ABVP statement said: “This event was supposed to be joined by a large number of common students of JNU. It is also noteworthy that Ramzan is being celebrated in the hostel very peacefully and simultaneously. This simultaneous celebration once again established the fact that JNU represents a microcosm of Bharat where different identities coexist peacefully. The Leftists, however, do not digest this fact. Neither in the country, nor in the campus. As they plan to break the country, here also they planned to create a ruckus among students by throwing the issue of ‘non vegetarian food’.
On the other hand, All India Students Association said, “ABVP does it again. Since morning, ABVP goons tried to forcibly stop cooking of chicken in JNU hostel Kaveri. JNU, being a central university, students from several communities (stay from) all over the country. When the campus opens after a gap of two years, students start to live their campus life, ABVP comes down on students with their full fledged hooliganism.” The left-wing student group also marched from the campus to the Vasant Kunj police station demanding action against the ABVP.
SN Balaji, the former JNUSU president, who was also hurt in the clash, said, “ABVP hit students with tube lights, threw big stones and even lids of large utensils. I tried to call officials from the security, administration but no one came to help.” Aishe Ghosh, president of JNUSU, said, “Students were heavily injured while Delhi Police and JNU administration yet again were mute spectators.”
Deputy commissioner of police (southwest) Manoj C said the situation is peaceful and both student parties are protesting peacefully. “Appropriate legal action will be taken on receipt of complaint,” he said. A similar clash had erupted in 2020 when masked men armed with sticks had entered the JNU campus and assaulted students, faculty and staff members. A case was registered and an SIT formed to probe the incident. No one has been arrested in the case till now.