WSS Statement on Police Brutality in Universities

                                                                                                                            8 th January 2020
Condemn the Police Brutality in Universities

Women against Sexual violence and State repression (WSS) strongly condemns the violence unleashed in the JNU campus and the murderous attack on JNUSU president, Aishe Ghosh, Professors Sucharita Sen, Saugata Bhaduri , Ameet Parmeshwar, other students and faculty members by masked goons on the evening of 5th January 2020. The masked mob comprising of men and women , used bats, lathis, iron rods and stones to vandalise hostels and beat up students and faculty members. The road leading to JNU was cordoned off and street lights were switched off during the attack. The attackers also obstructed ambulances and prevented other medical help from reaching the injured students. Violence on unarmed students, is a sign of unchecked power and impunity as it is evident from the fact that no person is identified or taken into custody. The attack was well orchestrated and planned, with the administration, security guards and police complicit in the attack. The attack staged by faceless-masked individuals on one hand speaks of cowardliness as well as impunity. The facelessness gives impunity to the assaulters in light of videos of protesters being made by the police or as seen in UP used to send notices and false cases applied. Further, such an act allows core the narrative to be turned and twisted in the hands of those in power.

Also it is interesting to note that as per the FIR filed at around 3.45 pm, police were informed about the students fighting at Periyar hostel yet the police stationed at main gate did not intervene till 7.30 pm, waiting for the formal permission from JNU administration. The double standards of Delhi police is
clearly visible in this case, where they were waiting at the main gate for the permission from the University administration even while the attackers were moving from one hostel to other, brutally assaulting the students and teachers.In the Jamia Milia Islamia University incident they didn’t find it necessary to take
permission from the University administration before barging into the campus and unleashing violence on students on 15 th December 2019. All eyewitness accounts, videos and print media which have emerged clearly indicate the involvement of ABVP, specifically targeting certain students and teachers who are critical of the present government. At the trauma centre of AIIMS, a total of 34 students and faculty members were admitted on the 5 th January night with varied degree of injuries. All were discharged the next day.

Though this attack on JNU has happened in the context of protests against the fee hike, it is also part of a plan to stifle the country wide opposition to the newly passed Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC). The violence in JNU is not an isolated incident but follows the violence unleashed on students of Jamia Milia Islamia University by the police in December 2019. The list of universities where students have been attacked , includes Aligarh Muslim University, IIT Kanpur, Jadavpur University and other campuses. Even though, the reasons for attack on Universities are individuated to the context and location of each University, the attacks on educational institutions are designed to terrorise and intimidate the students, many of whom are at the forefront of protests and resistance. Through such attacks the state is continuously trying to suppress dissent, make universities centres of fear and violence as opposed to that of knowledge and learning.

Furthermore, in the institutions attacked, many female students are enrolled. Many of them live-in hostels and come from families where they have had to engage with families to have safe access to higher education. Violence in these spaces, pushes these women back into private spaces and thus jeopardising their access to education. This is a concerted effort to dismantle and destabilise any and all voices of dissent. All over the country the state has denied citizens the right to peaceful protests by refusing permission and applying section 144 indiscriminately. It has used the police, particularly in BJP ruled states to unleash terror on protestors like in UP, killing more than 20 people. Now, with this violence in JNU, it seems to have unleashed the hindutva foot soldiers as well. In the face of such state repression, citizens, particularly students and women who have been the face of such resistance and are leading the struggle with courage,
we stand in rage and solidarity with all of them and stand united against this assault on fundamental rights of all citizens of this country.

WSS Demands

  • Action be taken against Delhi Police for Dereliction of Duty
  • Resignation of VC of JNU
  • To Initiate an Impartial Probe at the earliest and Arrest the culprits

WSS Convenors
Shalini, Nisha, Ajita & Rinchin

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