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One Year On, Investigation into JNU Mob Attack Remains Frozen

By: Sashwata Saha
05 Jan 2021 2:24:26 PM Journalist, Newshound India Desk

One year ago, exactly to this day, at around 6:30 pm, Aishe Ghosh was returning to her hostel from a protest against the hike in hostel fees at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus when a mob attacked her. She was beaten up with a rod -- her head smashed and her left arm fractured. Soon, a photo of her bloody face and a video of the attack went viral on Twitter, sparking nationwide outrage.

 

As the mob ran amok around campus, assaulting students and teachers alike, while specifically targeting the hostel buildings and it's residents, a host of police officers were waiting outside the main campus gate (colloquially called the North Gate). Later, senior officers had said that they did not go in because they did not have permission from the vice-chancellor -- a stand which earned them heavy flak from all directions.

 

A case was registered under sections of rioting, unlawful assembly, rioting with deadly weapons, and a section of the prevention of damage to property act against unknown persons at the Vasant Kunj North police station. The case was transferred to the crime branch later.

 

It has been a year since and victims are still waiting for the police and the varsity administration to bring to justice those responsible for the incident.

 

While clamour grew for the removal of the VC M Jagadesh Kumar after the incident, Delhi Police came 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 arrest has been made so far in connection with the incident, videos and pictures of which have gone viral.

 

Very soon after the violence, students and independent news portals had identified one of the masked people based on CCTV footage -- a Delhi University student Komal Sharma. “She claimed during her questioning that some people were trying to frame her, and denied her involvement in the violence. She also claimed she was not present on the campus that day,” the police told The Indian Express.

 

Registrar Pramod Kumar told the newspaper that since the police investigation was on, the internal probe committee had been disbanded.

 

Siddhardh Yadav, state secretary ABVP (Delhi) of which Sharma is an alleged member of, said to HT, “We have an active member named Komal Sharma but she is not the one who was seen in those pictures shared on social media. ABVP has been very clear about this from the beginning. We also want the person who was there among the mob to be identified and questioned.”

 

The Special Investigation Team in charge of the case has questioned 88 people in JNU, reports The Indian Express. “After questioning, we found names of some other suspects, but since the lockdown was announced, the team was not able to gather more conclusive evidence against them,” a police source told the newspaper.

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