Several students at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University were injured after clashes broke out on Sunday evening allegedly over meat being served in a hostel mess on the Hindu festival of Ram Navami, PTI reported.
Members of the Left student bodies outfits alleged that those affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi, the student affiliate of the Bharatiya Janata Party, tried to stop non-vegetarian food being cooked in the university’s Kaveri Hostel. Meanwhile, the Hindutva student organisation accused Left activists of disrupting a religious ceremony to mark Ram Navami.
The violence took place around 7.30 pm.
Left-affiliated student bodies alleged that 50 to 60 of their members were injured. The ABVP claimed that about 20 were wounded, including 8 to 10 of its members, The Indian Express reported. The police have registered a first information report against unknown ABVP persons and said that six students were wounded.
Both the Left organisations and the ABVP accused each other of resorting to violence and tweeted images of injured students.
Meat vendor stopped
The Left-controlled JNU Students Union alleged that around 4 pm, members of the ABVP stopped a vendor from supplying chicken to the mess of the Kaveri hostel, saying that a havan was being held.
In one of the videos shared by a Left activist, a group of students can be seen asking a person, identified as the vendor, to go away. They can be heard saying that the vendor will not be paid.
“Every Sunday, both non-vegetarian and vegetarian food is cooked in all hostels,” said Anagha Pradeep, a councillor in the students’ union, according to The Indian Express. “This is the usual practice.” The union alleged that the ABVP harassed and heckled both the vendor and the mess secretary.
In a letter to the Dean of Students at the university, the student-run Kaveri Hostel mess committee, which decides the menu, made the same allegations.
“A group of people arbitrarily asked the meal manager not to cook non-veg (chicken) food for which he complied without informing the hostel and mess committee,” the letter stated, according to The Indian Express. “The vendor who came to deliver chicken was verbally abused, threatened and manhandled. Students from outside of Kaveri hostel assaulted hostel committee members.”
In another video, a group of people could be seen engaged in an argument. JNU Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh identified them as “ABVP hooligans” who allegedly stopped residents of the Kaveri Hostel from having non-vegetarian food, and assaulting the mess secretary.
Meanwhile, the ABVP said that a puja to mark Ram Navami was to be held at 3.30 pm on Sunday, but due to the “ruckus created by the Leftists”, it started only at 5 pm.
“This act of politicising a religious celebration by Left, is a shameful act and ABVP condemns it from core,” it said.
One of the students alleged that she sustained an injury in her hand after being attacked by “Leftist students” without any reason.
The police have said that six people who suffered injuries have been taken to a hospital.
“There is no violence as of now,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Manoj C told PTI around 9.30 pm on Sunday. “We are all positioned here with our team. On the request of the university, we have come here. We are trying to maintain peace.”
The police added that they received a complaint from Left-affiliated student bodies against unknown ABVP supporters, ANI reported.
The police have registered a case under Section 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), Section 341 (wrongful restraint), 506 (criminal intimidation), 509 (molestation) and 34 (acts done with a common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.
Meanwhile, security has been beefed up at the Jawaharlal Nehru University to maintain peace on the campus, police said on Monday, PTI reported.
“Our personnel have not been deployed inside the JNU campus yet because the varsity has not requested for our security yet,” a senior police officer was quoted by the news agency. “However, we are monitoring the situation.”