After a sea of images and videos from Sunday night's violence at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) surfaced on social media, media outlets have identified some of the perpetrators who may have been involved in the attack.
Even after 48 hours, Delhi Police has not made a single arrest in the incident that left many students and teachers injured.
Two ABVP Members Identified
A report by NDTV traces one of the images to a man from the BJP-linked students’ union Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP).
Vikas Patel, member of ABVP’s JNU executive committee, is seen in a picture with a group of young men armed with lathis. Vikas, standing in a green t-shirt and blue jacket, is holding a fibre-glass baton, similar to those issued to Delhi Police, NDTV reported.
Vikas' number also features in a screenshot of a WhatsApp group of ABVP members who appear to be planning an attack on Left students on the JNU campus, the report said.
In the same picture, NDTV identifies another man, wearing a yellow and blue sweatshirt, as Shiv Poojan Mandal, a BA first year student in JNU, who is said to be affiliated to the ABVP.
According to the NDTV report, the photograph is likely to be taken on Sunday afternoon, just before violence broke out in JNU.
Mandal, who is standing with a lathi in the first picture, can be seen making his way through the campus with other men, who are also armed with lathis.
A man wearing a similar hoodie is also seen in a viral video, shot during the night time when an armed group of men were exiting the campus.
ABVP's Delhi joint secretary Anima Sonkar admitted on national television that the two spotted in the picture are from ABVP. She said, “So much panic was spread on WhatsApp groups that all members were advised to step out with lathis for self defence."
Masked Woman In Viral Image Likely an ABVP Member
Another report by Newslaundry brings together accounts of various social media users who identified one of the masked girls – seen in a viral picture from the night of the violence – as Komal Sharma, who is part of the ABVP's Delhi University wing.
The report also quotes one Apoorv Thakur, who shared a screenshot of the chat between his sister and Komal Sharma. Thakur also posted a voice message in which Komal is heard asking his sister to not tell anyone that "she was seen at the JNU campus."
Thakur told Newslaundry, “I am not associated with her. My sister saw her viral pictures. She knows her because she was her school junior. She contacted her on Instagram because she thought the masked girl was her. She wasn’t sure, though, since her face was covered. So, she asked her casually, as you can see from the message, that she had seen her near Munirka wearing these clothes. Komal said yes, she was there. Then she realised my sister must have seen the viral photo. That’s when she sent her a voice note saying, ‘Please don’t mention this to anyone’. She’s currently a student in Daulat Ram College, University of Delhi.”
Thakur's sister confirmed the same in an Instagram post.
Man Attacking AISA Member in Viral Video ABVP Member
Meanwhile, AltNews debunked the claim which was shared with a video that said, “This triggered clashes in #JNU campus. Students associated with Left parties bashed up #ABVP members when they were facilitating admission process. Students from #Left parties wanted to cancel admission process in #JNU."
Even Prasar Bharti tweeted the video with the same allegation.
The man donning the red jacket, seen assaulting others, is Sharvender, an ABVP member and a third-year PhD student at Centre for West Asian Studies, School of International Studies (SIS), JNU, AltNews reported quoting four JNU students who identified him.
Meanwhile, the ABVP has denied any role in the violence and instead blamed the Left-led AISA for triggering the clashes. The right-wing student union also released a video accusing JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh – who was badly injured in the violence – of triggering the clashes. The video, which shows her at the Periyar hostel with masked men, claimed that she was leading the goons.
The JNU Students’ Union has denied the claims and said, “This is an attempt by the right-wing media to twist the facts”. The students’ union claims that their president Aishe was alarmed at the situation after she saw “ABVP goons” enter the hostel.
“Masked ABVP goons enter a hostel. Aishe and others go in after them trying to clear them out. The disgusting propaganda machinery stands exposed,” the tweet read.
The Quint reached out to Apeksha Priyadarshini, who is a member of the JNU students’ union and was present at the spot when this video was taken.
“The men in the video who can be seen with Aishe are students and not goons. After getting the news that ABVP goons have entered Periyar hostel, Aishe and other students rushed to the spot. You can see that none of them are carrying weapons with them,” Apeksha said.