Video Producer: Maaz Hasan
Video Editor: Rajbir Singh
Fifth January 2022, marked two years of the deadly attack on the students and teachers of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). It also marked two years of inaction by the police, JNU administration, and the government.
It was on the very same day, in 2020, masked people entered the university campus with lathis and rods to beat the students and teachers, leaving them bleeding on the library and hostel floors.
To mark this dark day, we gathered at the Sabarmati Dhaba, inside the campus, when the blatant attack took place.
“We remember 5 January, because of the attack on the campus, one of the series of attacks, in which students were abused and beaten and the hostels were vandalised. It was marked on the calendar with a message ‘Yes, we will beat you like this, what will you do?’ The government, which is carrying out attacks across groups, is responsible for this. The police is also responsible because we kept calling them, but they did not respond. The university administration and the Vice-Chancellor are responsible for all the injuries, blood, and broken bones. But JNU is ready to fight against them.”Dhananjay Kumar, Student, JNU
We live in a democratic country and JNU upholds the spirit of democracy to its core. We can never be silenced and this is one of the biggest reasons why the attack took place. It was an attack on not only the students and teachers but also the Constitution.
Since October 2019, we have been protesting against the fee hike that the university had imposed over the students. We knew that if the fee hike would be imposed, many would not be able to get into JNU because, as per the university data, over 50 percent of the students come from economically weaker backgrounds.
We had managed to successfully carry out our protests for over two months. All attempts made by the administration and government to dislodge our agitation failed. It was then that a deadly attack was carried out by some masked people over the protesting students and the teachers.
And there is a reason we call this attack orchestrated. While the attack was taking place, we kept calling the police but they did not come. They only came once the attackers safely left the campus. And even now, no action has been taken.
“It has been two years. Every time we have gone to pursue cases with the Delhi Police we have got no affirmative response. And what we have seen in the aftermath of what took place on 5 Jan (2020) is an environment of terror, fear, and helplessness because the spate and instances of violence by the ABVP on students have increased multifold. Because of the sense of impunity they have developed whether it be vis-a-vis JNU administration, which took no action against these goons, or whether it be Delhi Police.”Apeksha Priyadarshini, Student, JNU
“Those who attacked us were completely protected. They had this sense of impunity when they were attacking us, that nothing was going to happen to them and till date it is proved that nothing has happened to them. Even though there are witnesses, people we identified on Facebook, there are videos that were circulated, but nothing has happened.”Lata, Student, JNU
To those who feel that they can silence us with their lathis, rods, and guns, we want to tell them we will continue to fight to protect the foundation of JNU.
But to JNU administration we want to ask:
“New students who are coming to study at JNU have fear in their minds, wondering whether they will be able to complete their degrees safely. Will the university be able to provide them with the safe space that it used to, 10-20 years ago?”Surya Prakash, Student, JNU
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