‘JNU Violence Has Left Deep Scars On My Memory’
Aneek Das, 22, a Third Year German Language student in Jawaharlal Nehru University, recalls the terror unleashed by masked mob inside the campus on January 5. He still gets nightmares
Many students and teachers had assembled at the Sabarmati T-point on Sunday (January 5) for a peace march called by JNUTA (Jawaharlal Nehru Teachers’ Association). The peace march had been called because the campus had been witnessing sporadic incidents of violence related to registration issues.
The students who had been protesting against the fees hike were of the view that agreeing to registration would mean agreeing to the increased fee structure. Also, since the examinations for the current semester had not been conducted in the university, how could we possibly get ourselves enrolled for the next semester?
A day before the Sunday march the JNU students affiliated to the BJP-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad or ABVP wanted to get themselves registered. However, they could not do so because the Wi-Fi connection was disconnected (It is still not clear if someone disconnected the Wi-Fi on purpose or it was a mechanical glitch). The main fight between the left and right wing students was on this issue until matters got out of hand on Sunday around 7.30 pm. From then on, it was mayhem at an unprecedented scale.
Men and women were both part of the masked mob that entered our campus on Sunday. The police, which till then had been keeping a very sharp eye on the campus (even checking each and every auto that entered the campus), allowed a mob to run riot. Being masked should have raised suspicion and they could have been denied entry. Even the guards who are supposed to ‘guard’ the campus were nowhere to be seen. It was disheartening as well as scary to know that such violence can occur on a university campus. Once the attackers charged on the march, the participants ran to save their lives. However, several professors couldn’t run fast and were targeted by the mob. The respected faculty got beaten mercilessly along with a few other students.
I, along with many of my friends, ran to the nearest hostel which is Sabarmati to save our lives. We entered rooms of our friends and put the bed as barricade on the doors. The frustrated mob smashed the window panes to strike fear and vent out their anger. Finally, they went away to another hostel. Though most of us were not badly physically hurt, some of us are undergoing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) for sure. Even while sleeping I wake up in cold sweat when I feel a group of men is banging on my door to break it open. I guess it will take a long time for these scars to go away.
I am a third year student of German at JNU, and I haven’t seen this scale of violence in the campus. Reports are out which shows outsiders entered the campus and unleashed terror on unsuspecting students and teachers. You can’t even imagine the pain and worry that our parents are going through. We are protesting the fees hike because we can’t afford increased fees (which is quite a large amount, unlike what a section of the media have shown).
Our parents are asking us to come home or keep away from the campus until the situation returns to normal, but the thing is that the situation in JNU isn’t being allowed to be normal for the past 3-4 years. When is the situation ever going to be normal enough for us to feel safe?