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'Asked to Step Out With Rods, Acid': ABVP Delhi Joint Secretary Admits Its Men Were Armed in JNU

ABVP activists stand holding sticks outside JNU on January 5.

ABVP activists stand holding sticks outside JNU on January 5.

ABVP’s Delhi joint secretary Anima Sonkar said on national television that “everyone” was asked on WhatsApp groups not to step out unarmed.

New Delhi: In a startling admission, ABVP’s Delhi joint secretary Anima Sonkar has admitted on national television that two armed men seen in videos carrying rods in the JNU campus are from the RSS-linked student union.

During a panel discussion on Times Now, Sonkar, however, said the duo were carrying rods in “self-defence”. Seeking to explain the videos that emerged following the Sunday night attack on JNU students and teachers on campus, Sonkar said they were asked on WhatsApp groups to be armed before stepping out.

“In all the WhatsApp groups, so much panic was spread... whenever you are stepping out, step out in groups, step out while you have rods... whatever you get handy, pepper spray, somebody has acid. I have not even heard or seen any case of acid attack or something (sic),” Sonkar said during the televised debate.



Asked by the anchor whether she was admitting that the men on the video were from the ABVP, Sonkar said, “Yes, Vikas Patel is our activist. I am not disowning… It’s self-defence, complete self-defence.”



Patel is a member of the ABVP’s JNU executive committee and has been identified in news reports as one of the men seen in the photographs taken on campus on Sunday afternoon.

When questioned who asked them to be armed, Sonkar said, “The entire Brahmaputra Hostel was asked to be armed. Not ABVP, everyone was asked.”

Sonkar's statement on record counters the ABVP's claims that its members were not armed on campus and that the WhatsApp groups, screenshots of which went viral, belonged to Leftist students.

On Sunday, a mob of masked men and women stormed the JNU campus in south Delhi and systematically targeted students in three hostels, unleashing mayhem with sticks, stones and iron rods, hitting inmates and breaking windows, furniture and personal belongings. They also attacked a women's hostel.

While the opposition has alleged that the mob was composed of “ABVP goons” and questioned Delhi Police’s inaction weeks after their crackdown on protesting students at Jamia Millia Islamia, the home and HRD ministries have sought reports from the Delhi Police and JNU administration.