Over the course of Monday, strong indications became available of who might have been involved in planning and implementing the violent attacks on teachers and students on the campus of New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University over the weekend.
There were screenshots of WhatsApp messages by members of the Hindu nationalist Akhil Bharati Vidyarthi Parishad calling for attacks, The ABVP is the youth wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. There were photos and videos of men and women roaming the campus holding sticks and bats and engaging in the violence. On television, a leader from the ABVP even admitted that there had been calls for its members to turn up at JNU with weapons.
On Tuesday morning it emerged that the Delhi Police on Sunday evening had in fact filed a First Information Report against one of the persons was badly injured in the violence. In that case, JNU Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh’s name is clearly mentioned.
However, the FIR filed by the police on the violence that had taken place on Sunday was registered against “unknown persons” despite all the evidence available.
Indeed, the police have failed to do their duty from the very beginning. Even if you leave aside the complex question of how the Delhi Police should have acted on campus, it was clear that outside JNU – along its perimeter and at its main gate – the authorities had no intention of preventing people with weapons from entering or exiting. Even when the mob turned aggressive, roughing up journalists and political activists outside the main gate with dozens of police personnel around, they did nothing.
On Monday, Scroll.in laid out four questions for the Delhi Police about its actions on Sunday. But looking at the overall picture and the unwillingness of the police to act makes it clear that the buck doesn’t stop there.
After all, the Delhi Police reports directly to the Union Home Ministry. And the Union Home Ministry is run by Amit Shah, who is also currently president of the Bharatiya Janata Party. It should be obvious that the BJP President has no interest in police investigating the activities of a student body that has a close relationship with his party.
This means that the residents of Delhi have to deal with what appears to not just be lawlessness on the streets, but police complicity in the violence. What else explains the lights being off outside JNU and the lack of intervention by police personnel while attacks were taking place in front of them?
When the Special Commissioner of Police was questioned on this, his response was to say, “Go to court.”
From a political perspective this may not be surprising, but it is worth repeating regardless: the government, under Home Minister Amit Shah is willing to let Delhi descend into lawlessness purely because the perpetrators of the violence belong to the same ideology as his.
There should be no confusion about why people do not trust the government’s assurances on things like the Citizenship Act amendments – not even counting all the time that it has spouted blatant lies. When the police machinery is used in such a blatantly political manner, who is to say that the laws will not be subverted for the BJP’s political gains in the future too?