Editor: Varun Sharma
Camera: Sushovan Sircar
“We don't want to stay here. We are very scared.”
About 48 hours since the brutal assault on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) by a masked mob, Sunita Prakash, wife of Professor of Urdu Studies Shiv Prakash, has barely slept and is still very scared.
Shiv Prakash, an assistant professor in JNU’s School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, lives in the faculty quarters with his wife and three children, aged 12, eight and one and a half.
“Slight noises outside the door startle me. We are not safe,” says Sunita, still looking visibly shaken from Sunday’s incident.
On Sunday, 5 January, a masked mob armed with rods, sticks, batons marched into the campus and launched an unrelenting attack for over two hours on unarmed students and faculty members. At least 35 injured people, including four professors, were rushed to AIIMS Trauma Care Centre on Sunday night.
While Sabarmati and Periyar Hostels bore the brunt of the assault, a mob of 15-20 marched towards the New Transit House building where faculty members and their families live. The quarters is about 300 metres from Sabarmati Hostel and has one guard at the entrance.
“As far as I could see from the window, there were men with rods, sticks and batons. They broke open the apartment door and came right in,” Sunita added.
Many professors spoke of the violence unleashed upon them by masked goons. Professor Sucharita Sen was among those who fell down on the street after the mob allegedly started pelting stones and later assaulted professors with sticks.
“I was there at the T-Point near Sabarmati, as was Professor Sucharita Sen. They started pelting stones and I got hit and Sucharita fell down,” Professor Shukla Sawant, who teaches in the School of Arts and Aesthetics, told The Quint.
‘Never Seen Anything Like This’: Professor Prakash
Professor Shiv Prakash, who came to JNU in 2005 as a Master’s student and has been on campus for 14 years, told The Quint, “I have never seen anything quite like this. We would have heated ideological arguments, but never violence of this nature.”
“I never thought the mob would reach the teacher's quarters,” he added.
Professor Prakash said that he now finds the security on campus to be “cowardly”.
“We later heard that the security guard was simply watching as a bystander,” the professor said.
“They broke into my bedroom with rods and threatened me to surrender.”Professor Shiv Prakash,
The Urdu professor also feels that insiders were involved in the rampage and guided those from outside the campus into the hostels and staff quarters.
“How did the outsiders gain entry into the campus? In any incident, there will be insiders,” he said.