Former JNU ABVP Joint Secy Warns TOI Reporter Against “Afzalgiri”

In a Whatsapp exchange, Saurabh Sharma is seen cautioning the reporter against “afzalgiri” and “left activism.”

2 min read
The former joint secretary of ABVP in JNU, Saurabh Sharma, sent messages to the reporter cautioning him against indulging in “afzalgiri” and “left activism” when asked questions.

In another incident of threats to journalists, the former Joint Secretary of the ABVP in JNU issued a “caution” to a reporter, warning him not to indulge in “Afzalgiri” and “Left activism”, while the journalist was covering the JNU Students’ Union Elections, The Times of India reported.

The journalist in question was Mohammed Ibrar, a reporter from The Times of India.

Kyu itna leftgiri karate hai Ibrar bhai? Journalism par dhyaan dijiye. Left activism ya Afzalgiri par nahi. (Why do you do this Left-activism, Ibrar? Focus on journalism, not on Left activism or Afzal-activism.)
Saurabh Sharma, Former Joint Secretary, ABVP, JNU in a Whatsapp message to TOI reporter Mohammed Ibrar

But this isn’t the first time the ABVP has targeted journalists.

What Happened?

The Times of India states that while Ibrar was reporting on the JNU elections on Monday, 17 September, he received a WhatsApp message from Saurabh Sharma, the former ABVP joint secretary in JNU, telling him that there were “200 left goons gathered outside the hostel, giving life threats to ABVP members and breaking down the gate of the hostel”.

Coincidentally, Sai Balaji, the Left Unity candidate who won the elections, was addressing a crowd at the same location at the time, and Ibrar was at the scene.

Ibrar then asked Sharma where the alleged incident was happening, adding that he was outside the hostel in question. In response, Sharma sent him photos of injured students, the Times of India report said.

When Ibrar pushed for numbers of the injured students, the former Joint Secretary of the ABVP replied, “Kyu itna leftgiri karate hai Ibrar bhai? Journalism par dhyan dijiye. Left activism ya afzalgiri par nahi.”

The reporter then asked Sharma to “keep his politics to himself” and sought an answer from the former joint secretary, to which Sharma replied, “I’ve answered your questions. You can quote me. My answer is clear.”

ABVP Clarifies Statement, Issues Apology

The TOI report adds that when the reporter spoke to senior ABVP members on campus about the allegation of ‘Afzalgiri’, they issued an apology, saying that “ABVP students were attacked last night. Sharma was trying to save them and this probably affected his emotional state. We will make sure this never happens again.”

When The Quint got in touch with ABVP’s national convenor Monica Chaudhary, she confirmed once more that there was indeed an attack by ‘leftist activists’, as claimed by Saurabh. She added that she was informed of the attack, at 4 am on Monday, 17 September morning.

She added that the ABVP had apologised in full to the reporter in question, and said that Saurabh Sharma was “under a lot of mental stress” and was “very emotional” at the time, and perhaps that was why he made the ‘afzalgiri’ statement.

(With inputs from The Times of India.)

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