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Attacks at Sabarmati Hostel Had Pattern, Even Blind Weren't Spared: JNU Students Recall Sunday Horror

Shanur Ali with Shashi Bhushan (at the back) had jumped off from a first floor room in Sabarmati hostel when the mob attacked them. (News18)

Shanur Ali with Shashi Bhushan (at the back) had jumped off from a first floor room in Sabarmati hostel when the mob attacked them. (News18)

With broken windows, doors and glass pieces scattered all around, staff of the Sabarmati hostel are also finding it hard to deal with Sunday’s targeted attack.

New Delhi: Kaki is a Kashmiri, studying Urdu in Jawaharlal Nehru University. He feels everything about him made him a perfect target for the masked mob on a rampage at the university’s Sabarmati Hostel on Sunday evening.

“I am a Muslim from Kashmir and studying Urdu… a perfect target,” said Kaki, who did not wish to have his full name mentioned in the article as that might only increase his troubles.

He said he wants to leave the campus and the hostel where he has been staying for quite some time now. The Sabarmati hostel on the JNU campus witnessed massive violence on Sunday.

With broken windows, doors and glass pieces scattered all around, the hostel staff are also finding it hard to deal with Sunday’s targeted attack.

Kaki’s room is in a disarray and completely damaged. “Everything has been thrown around. The attack continued in my room for about 20 minutes and then (the mob) went to the second floor. I am going to talk to the administration about the fact that I don’t feel safe. I don’t think I can stay here. In fact, the Sunday incident is important for minorities to know that they are vulnerable to attacks on the campus of JNU, which was once a safe place for them,” he said.

(A damaged room at Sabarmati hostel)

Kaki was sitting with his three friends when the mob barged into his room. They called him a “Naxali”, he said.

Most of the students had missed their night meals as the attack started around 7:30pm and food was only served at the hostel dining hall around 10 pm when the violence had subsided.

Wardens Ramavtar Meena and Prakash Chandra Sahoo have resigned and left the campus after being threatened by armed masked goons.

Shanur Ali, another resident of Sabarmati hostel and a student of life science, saved himself, and Shashi Bhushan, a blind student, by jumping from the first floor. Bhushan had earlier been harassed by police for protesting against fee hike.

“It was dark and we heard people damaging the hostel. The pattern was evident. No room of ABVP (Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad) supporters was attacked. People know me. They now I don’t do politics, but I also don’t support ABVP. This made me an easy target,” said Ali, a research scholar.

Bhushan said when the mob attacked him, he ran inside Ali’s room. Then both decided to jump from the first floor hostel room.

He said he is not scared, but his family is. “They want me to leave the campus. They are saying PhD ho jayegi, campus chhodo (You will complete your Phd, leave the campus).”

Surya Prakash, another blind scholar and resident Sabarmati Hostel, is still unable figure out why he was attacked.

(Surya Prakash talks about Sunday's mayhem)

“They came in my room and someone said he is blind. Then I heard another voice say, so what?” he said, adding, “I was injured and then, the health centre didn’t even have balm to treat us. The students took us to hospitals. The administration failed the students.”

Prakash said, “On the one hand, they were hitting whoever came in their way, and on the other, I heard them say, ‘let’s go to room no. 156, 157’ as if they had some targets set to attack. The mob was smelling of liquor, and I am sure they came drunk on the campus to kill us.”

Prakash has been threatened against speaking to the media about the violence. “Students in JNU don’t have much time. They just don’t want to have kids and eat and die. The focus always has been to give back something to society? Then why were we attacked?” he said.

first published:January 06, 2020, 23:32 IST