The recent horrifying incident in JNU is a despondent story from the academic institution in India. It is not the first time that such incident is taking place inside the university campus. In the year 2016, inside the same campus, groups of students wearing masks chanted anti-national slogans and committed sedition with the support of Student Union of JNU. Series of violence from decades in Jadavpur University and in parts of West Bengal and Kerala are not hidden from anyone. Similarly, the certainty and severity of the Left party-led vehemence and pattern of violence in West Bengal and Kerala is seen and apparent inside the country. JNU-based Left has a history of being intolerant to another viewpoint and ideology. Question arises whether not allowing general or common student to register for the upcoming session in JNU and then beating those students for not complying with the boycott led by Left students is brutal or not.
Timeline of JNU Violence
On 4th January 2020, at about 1pm, masked intruders entered inside the premises of Central Information System and committed mischiefs by damaging the Internet server. From 3rd January continuously, students allegedly affiliated with Left wing Students Union were present on the spot and near the server room and not allowing college administration to operate Central Information System.
Also, same day on 4th January, heated exchange of words took place between common students who were manhandled by Left student for not complying with their directions and boycott. This should be also noted that in the previous month, Left students boycotted examinations in the institution and also threatened those supporting.
History of Violence in JNU
In the year 2016, the incident that shook national media and public at large was the episode at Jawaharlal Nehru University when Left groups supported the programme against the death sentence and hanging of Afzal Guru, who was convicted of Parliament Attack in 2001, and Kashmiri separatist leader Maqbool Bhat.
The organisers of the event were former members of the Democratic Students Union (DSU) and with the support of the Left student’s organization, they were hosting this event. The university administration withdrew permission for the event shortly before it because there were protests against such an event by ABVP and other student groups. The event also led to conflict and clashes between various student groups on campus. A video that went viral on national media channels clearly testified the fact that unknown groups of students who were wearing masks came inside the university and shouted "anti-India" slogans. This current event is not different from the series of events that happened in 2016 and if you will study the pattern, you can decode the design of violence in JNU.
In the year 1983, in a series of chain reactions, Jalees Ahmed, a student of Jhelum Hostel, was transferred to Ganga Hostel on disciplinary grounds. This led to violence and the confrontation over what was an insignificant administrative issue that was provoked by students. This incident led to lengthy gherao where more than 100 students entered into vice-chancellor’s residence and created serious law and order problem. Students association carried massive violence in the year 1983 against order of vice-chancellor and teachers. This student’s violence was criticised in all corners of the country. As a consequence, to restore status quo inside the campus and to ensure normal functioning of the university, CRPF and police were asked to enter the premises and deal with rioters. Section 144 was imposed with several provisions of Indian Penal Code also applied against groups of violent protesters in JNU.
It’s sad to see the institute of eminence is turning into place for violence. JNU has its reputation and credibility in the academic domain of India and abroad. However, such incident is horrifying in the university campus and questions the credibility of the institution that was built over a period of time. This should not be the level of student union to harass general and common students who are interested in studies. I request all people not to make/form your opinion based on some random videos or fake screenshots. You should see the whole incident in totality and series of events happening in JNU campus from last few days. Left-supported students and JNU student union were not allowing the students to study, continuously trying to create nuisance, mischief and ferocious activities inside the campus. The violent form of protests by Left-leaning students’ groups and SFI in these institutions are repeatedly done over the period of time. This is what the history and timeline of events tells about the Left-led violence in JNU. However, this is shocking and we strongly condemn all form of violence. JNU can’t become laboratory of violence led by Left students and students union in the country.
(Ramanand is Research scholor of Department of Education, DU; Abhinav has done LLM from MNLUU)