#JNUTapes: Sting Op ‘Unmasks ABVP Goons & Exposes Left Vandalism’

This comes at the heels of the police briefing in which the it revealed that it had identified nine suspects.

Updated
India
4 min read
JNU students Akshat Awasthi (left), Rohit Shah (centre) and Geeta Kumari (right) have been named in the India Today sting operation.
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A BA first-year student allegedly involved in the 5 January attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, was exposed by an India Today sting operation. A left-wing student who was allegedly involved in shutting down the University servers on 4 January was also nailed in the sting.

This comes at the heels of the police briefing on Friday, 10 January, in which the Crime Branch revealed that it had identified nine suspects in Sunday’s violence, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, but had made no arrests.

Akshat Awasthi, the possible assailant who is currently pursuing a French degree program at JNU, admitted during the sting that he was involved in the attack, according to the publication. He also reportedly admitted that he was a member of the ABVP.

‘He Looked Like a Kashmiri... I Beat Him Up’

Awasthi identified himself in a video of the assault and said he could be seen rushing through the hostel corridors armed with a stick and his face covered with a helmet, according to India Today.

He also admitted to assaulting a person and the destruction of property.

Akshat Awasthi, a BA first-year student at JNU
Akshat Awasthi, a BA first-year student at JNU
(Photo: India Today)
“There was a man with a flowing beard. He looked like a Kashmiri. I beat him up and then broke the gate with my kicks.”
Akshat Awasthi to India Today

Awasthi told the publication that the attack was in retaliation to an assault allegedly perpetrated by the Left students on Periyar hostel earlier during the same day. He added that he was able to organise the mob by contacting ABVP office-bearers from a separate campus outside.

He claimed to have guided the mob and “channeled their anger” during the assault and that a police officer on duty encouraged the mob to beat up the Left students.

‘Helmet a Must for Safety When You Smash Glass’

Another student in the first year of JNU’s French program, Rohit Shah, testified to Awasthi’s involvement in 5 January’s assault, reports India Today.

Rohit Shah, Awasthi’s colleague and a JNU student.
Rohit Shah, Awasthi’s colleague and a JNU student.
(Photo: India Today)

He confessed that he gave his helmet to Awasthi before he set out on the raid:

“It (a helmet) is a must for safety when you smash glass.”

Shah also reportedly said that he was proud of what had happened at JNU on Sunday evening. He is also heard confessing that there were 20 ABVP activists from JNU in the attack, according to the publication.

The ABVP, however, denied that Awasthi and Shah were associated with it in any capacity. BJP Spokesperson Amit Malviya also insisted that the ABVP had no office-bearer from the first-year of any degree program in the University.

‘We Decided to Close the Server Room’

The sting operation also brought to light the Left’s alleged involvement in the shutting down of JNU’s servers on 4 January, a day before the attack on students.

Former JNUSU president and All India Students Association (AISA) activist Geeta Kumari told India Today that she was involved in shutting down the university servers.

Geeta Kumari, All India Students Association (AISA) activist and former JNUSU president
Geeta Kumari, All India Students Association (AISA) activist and former JNUSU president
(Photo: India Today)
“None of our demands are met, he (JNU VC) didn’t even meet us, so we decided to close the server room.”
Geeta Kumari to India Today

She reportedly said that the vice-chancellor was not meeting students or listening to their demands and that he would conduct most University business over the internet.

Other Media Reports Link ABVP to JNU Attack

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 fiberglass baton, similar to those issued to Delhi Police, NDTV reported.

  • Shiv Poojan Mandal (on the left, yellow hoodie) and Vikas Patel (right, green T-shirt and blue jacket)
  • A group of men, including Mandal, can be seen entering the JNU campus with lathis.
  • A group of  men, including Mandal,  can be seen entering the JNU campus with lathis.

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 ABVP's Delhi University wing.

The girl who is found on multiple videos vandalising JNU Girls Hostel is Komal Sharma. She is from Delhi University ABVP...

Posted by Reetam Singh on Sunday, January 5, 2020

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."

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.

Read the full story here.

The police on Friday released pictures of nine suspects of which seven belong to Left-leaning student organisations while two are affiliated to the right-wing students' body.

Addressing a press conference, DCP (Crime Branch) Joy Tirkey, who is probing the case, said a majority of the students wanted to register for the winter semester from 1 to 5 January, but the Left-leaning students’ bodies were not allowing them to do so.

About the attack on 5 January, the DCP said that specific rooms in the University’s Periyar hostel were targeted. JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh was among those who attacked students in the hostel, the police officer claimed.

"No suspect has been detained till now, but we will begin to interrogate the suspects soon," he said.

For the full story on what the police said click here.

(With inputs from India Today, NDTV, Newslaundry AltNews and PTI)

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