The Delhi Police have identified a masked woman seen in a video on the January 5 violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University as Delhi University student Komal Sharma, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. In the video, the person believed to be Sharma, is seen wearing a check shirt and a light blue scarf, and carrying a stick. She allegedly threatened students in Sabarmati hostel along with two men.
However, in a letter to the National Commission for Women, Sharma has claimed that she is being framed, reported News18. “I am not the woman in the video,” she added. “I have been deliberately, and with some bad intention, defamed to the extent that now the condition has become bad to worst and I have started receiving calls from my relatives/friends who are expressing their dismay considering me as the said alleged lady in mask/scarf.”
News website Newslaundry was the first to identify the attacker as Sharma. Last week, India Today aired a sting operation in which it too identified the Daulat Ram College student as one of the assailants. The news channel also exposed JNU student Akshat Awasthi as one of the assailants. The attack was carried out by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad – the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. While the saffron outfit acknowledged that Sharma was its member, it denied links with Awasthi and another accused identified as Rohit Shah.
All three – Sharma, Awasthi, and Shah – have been served a notice by the police under Section 160 of the Indian Penal Code, which provides punishment for affray.
“Since the social media trolling against her began, we have been unable to reach out to her,” ABVP Delhi state secretary Sidharth Yadav told The Indian Express. “The last information I received was that she is with her family. I have not been able to contact her to ask if she has received summons from police.”
Yadav said more investigation was required “as soon as possible so that the blot against her [Sharma] name can be removed”. “If she has indeed done something, that can be addressed,” he added. “In the meantime, ABVP as an organisation is itself investigating what happened on January 5, and has found that many of our people were beaten in the university.”
Others being investigated
The ABVP has blamed the attack on students from Left-backed organisations and accused them of violence in the days leading up to January 5. The police are also investigating those cases.
On Tuesday, the police questioned JNU students Sucheta Talukdar and Priya Ranjan, The Indian Express reported. While Talukdar is a JNU Students’ Union councillor from the All India Students’ Association, Ranjan’s political affiliation is not known. They are among those who allegedly played a role in the violence. The others are Chunchun Kumar, Pankaj Mishra, Waskar Vijay, Dolan Samanta, Yogendra Bhardwaj and Vikas Patel. Most of them are members of the ABVP.
On Friday, the Delhi Police had claimed to have identified nine people in connection with the violence, including Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh, who was among the 34 people injured in the mob attack. According to the police, Ghosh and several others attacked students at Periyar Hostel – an ABVP stronghold. Specific rooms were targeted at the hostel, they claimed. The police filed two FIRs against Ghosh and others for events that took place between January 1 and 4 based. These cases were registered while a mob attack was underway at the university. They are based on the complaints of the JNU administration.
The India Today sting also showed former JNU Students’ Union president and Left activist Geeta Kumari admitting that she was part of an attack on the university’s server room on January 4. She said the servers were shut down because the vice chancellor did not meet students to address their demands.