JNUSU Polls: Najeeb’s ‘Assaulter’ Sparks Row As ABVP Candidate
Ankit Roy, who is accused of assaulting missing student Najeeb Ahmed, is ABVP’s candidate for the JNUSU elections.
September 7 was a ‘no campaign’ day at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). However, since it was just a day before the JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) election, politics invariably occupied centre stage.
One of the flashpoint of this year’s elections has been the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) fielding a candidate accused of assaulting university student Najeeb Ahmed, who disappeared last October and has been untraceable since.
A proctorial inquiry reportedly found ABVP's Ankit Roy – nominated for the post of councillor from the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies – “to be involved in hitting” Najeeb Ahmed before his disappearance.
As punishment for the “scuffle,” Roy, along with three others, was transferred to a different hostel.
Students from the university, some affiliated to Opposition parties such as All-India Students Association (AISA) and Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF), have taken strong exception to Roy’s nomination.
Many of them have pointed out that his candidature goes against the recommendations of the Lyngdoh Committee report, as per which any student facing disciplinary action is not allowed to contest elections.
'Cannot Tolerate This in Our Democratic Process'
Umar Khalid, of the Bhagat Singh Ambedkar Students Organisation, told The Quint that Roy’s candidature is “reflective of the nature of impunity which right-wing elements enjoy under the prevailing circumstances.”
It seems like the Lyngdoh guidelines is applied only to Left candidates, who are implicated in false cases, and not to the ABVP.Umar Khalid
A similar sentiment was echoed by Mohit Pandey, the outgoing students’ union president, who last year won on an AISA-SFI (Students’ Federation of India) Left unity ticket.
ABVP has always been asserting that they can do anything and no one can punish them, saying they have the backing of the proctor, the Vice Chancellor, and the government. The assaulter and the goons have been given full support, but we cannot tolerate this in our democratic process.Mohit Pandey, outgoing JNUSU president
'Cannot Disqualify Roy Without Inquiry Report'
Though Roy’s candidature has been opposed, the university’s election committee has not been able to disqualify him as it does not have access to the chief proctor’s inquiry report, according to a Telegraph report. It quoted the JNUSU’s chief election commissioner, Bhagat Singh, as saying:
If he (Ankit Roy) was found guilty, his nomination stands cancelled… We have asked for a copy of the order from the proctor’s office, but they have denied us the information. The chief proctor is not cooperating with the JNUSU election committee.
The chief proctor, Vibha Tandon, on her part has denied receiving a letter from the committee. She also went on to assert that she “was not answerable” to the committee”, and that information could be given only if it was ordered by the Vice Chancellor.
'ABVP Emboldened After Mild Punishment to Roy'
Moreover, the punishment meted out to Roy by the university authorities, which included him being shifted to a different hostel after the alleged scuffle with Najeeb, has also been denounced as “mild” by students of various rival parties.
AISA’s outgoing councillor Shashi Tripathi, placed the blame squarely on the administration and the VC, indicating how their actions (or lack of them thereof) created an atmosphere where the ABVP could field such a candidate.
Such a thing is happening for the first time in JNUSU elections. But, how did the ABVP get the ‘will-power’ to field such a candidate in the first place? It’s because the administration and the VC have given really mild punishment to Ankit Roy.Shashi Tripathi, outgoing councillor, AISA
Students affiliated to other parties too, like the Democratic Students Front (DSF) and a few of those claiming to be neutral, who The Quint spoke to, lashed out at ABVP’s decision to field Roy, emphasising on the need to “fight back.”
It's a Conspiracy to Defame Roy Because He's Dalit: ABVP
However, ABVP member Abhijeet Dwivedi countered all the criticism from rival political parties, claiming that Roy is “not an accused in the case and there is no charge against him.”
This is a conspiracy to defame Ankit Roy. It’s only because he belongs to the Dalit community.Abhijeet Dwivedi, ABVP member, JNU
Another ABVP member, Yogendra Bhardwaj, who served as a councillor in the students’ union, emphasised more on the ABVP’s agenda for the elections, but made a passing reference to the controversy.
ABVP does not always do politics. We pick up issues concerning students from the ground and try to solve them. We don’t engage in communal politics when a student goes missing.Yogendra Bhardwaj, ABVP member
Members of the group have also held that Roy was a victim of assault by Najeeb.
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