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16 injured after students clash in JNU over non-vegetarian food, Delhi Police registers FIR

By Ruchi Upadhyay 
Updated Date

New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Monday said that it has registered an FIR and started an investigation after two groups of students clashed at the Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Kaveri Hostel on Sunday allegedly over non-vegetarian food being served in the mess on Ram Navami.

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At least sixteen students from both sides – Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) and Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) – were injured as chaos reigned on the campus yesterday evening.

“We received a complaint from a group of students who are members of JNUSU, SFI, DSF & AISA early this morning against unknown ABVP students. Accordingly, we lodged an FIR under Sections 323/341/509/506/34 IPC. Further probe is on to collect evidence & identify culprits,” the Delhi Police said.

It further said that students belonging to ABVP have also intimated that they will be filing the complaint today morning. On receipt of the same, necessary action will be taken, the Delhi Police said.

According to police, at least six JNU students were injured in the incident. The two groups, however, claimed that over 60 students were injured from both sides. The Left-controlled JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) and RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad accused each other of pelting stones and injuring their members.

The Left outfits claimed about 50 of their members were injured, while the ABVP said their 10-12 activists were hurt. Several purported videos of the violence surfaced on social media, with one of them showing Akhtarista Ansari, a second-year MA student of Sociology, bleeding from the head. Officials have not confirmed the authenticity of the videos.

The JNUSU also alleged that the ‘ABVP members’ stopped the mess vendor from supplying chicken and attacked him in the afternoon. However, the right-wing ABVP denied the charge and claimed that ‘Leftists’ obstructed a Ram Navami puja in the hostel.

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Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southwest) Manoj C said that a total of six students have received injuries and have been sent to a hospital. “There is no violence as of now. We are all positioned here with our team. At the request of the university, we have come here. We are trying to maintain peace,” he said.

“Presently, the situation is peaceful. Both student groups are protesting peacefully. Appropriate legal action will be taken on receipt of a complaint. The situation is peaceful,” the senior police officer added.

The JNUSU alleged that the ABVP, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), used “muscle power and goondaism” to create a ruckus, manhandled the mess staff and asked them not to prepare any non-vegetarian item.

“They were forcing and attacking the mess committee to change the dinner menu and exclude the usual non-vegetarian items from it for all students,” it alleged. “JNU and its hostels are meant to be inclusive spaces for all and not one particular section,” it said.

A student alleged that the ABVP members asked the Kaveri Hostel mess committee not to prepare non-vegetarian food for the dinner, but the members refused to comply, saying students have the choice to have non-vegetarian or vegetarian food on Sundays.

“In the evening, when the mess committee members were having a meeting with the mess manager, ABVP activists barged inside and started attacking them with (Ram Navami) flagstick. Later, residents of Kaveri Hostel sent an SOS message to student office-bearers who reached there but were attacked with stones and sticks,” he said.

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Madhurima Kundu, All India Students’ Association Delhi president, said, “In the afternoon, they attacked the mess vendor who had come to supply chicken. On Sundays, students have the option to choose between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food across all hostels. Around 7.45 pm, they came inside the mess and first attacked students with fists and then with items they could find inside.”

Another student of JNU, Jahanvi Sodha, who claimed to be unaffiliated uploaded a video on social media saying, “I am a witness to what happened.”

“In the evening, students came to the Kaveri Hostel mess and saw that the ABVP activists were already present there. They were hurling abuse and in response, some women students called them ”cowards” (darpok). They were so enraged that they started attacking the women by throwing water coolers and when they started to escape, the ABVP activists hurled stones and broke the glass doors of the mess. Women students were severely injured,” she has said in the video.

The ABVP, however, rejected JNUSU’s allegations and claimed that “Leftists” disrupted a puja and havan organised by some unaffiliated students at 3:30 pm at the Kaveri Hostel on the occasion of Ram Navami.

“The Leftists came to object, obstruct and prevent the puja. They have created a false ruckus on the issue of Right to Food, (Non-Vegetarian Food),” they said. After the violence, both sides took out protest marches to action against each other.

Police denied allegations of being a mute spectator at the spot and said as soon as they received a PCR call, they rushed with their teams and ensured that no further escalation of violence. Late on Sunday night, members from both parties went to the police station and demanded FIRs to be registered based on their complaints.

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