The Leftist students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), led by All India Students’ Association (AISA), attacked the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists in the JNU campus on Sunday (November 14). Was it a manifestation of the crumbling fortress of the Left?
The Sunday (November 14) meeting of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) activists was a routine meeting in the Student Convention Centre of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
Among many other things, the agenda of the meeting included giving final touches to the planning of the birth anniversary celebration of Bhagwan Birsa Munda the next day. Monday (November 15) was the birth anniversary of Bhagwan Birsa Munda, celebrated as Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas.
The JNU ABVP President Shivam Chaurasia, together with other office bearers, was present in the meeting. A group of Leftist students, led by the student wing of Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation AISA, stormed into the meeting room, demanding the meeting be organised outside.
Shivam said to the Organiser, “We will vacate the room once our meeting is over and it won’t take much time. But, all our requests fell on deaf ears. They demanded that the room be vacated immediately.”
The Leftist students demanded that since they were controlling the Jawaharlal Nehru Students Union (JNUSU), ABVP activists should have permission to hold their meeting in the Student Convention Centre (SCC).
The Student Convention Centre (SCC) houses the JNUSU office. Before the ABVP activists could gather themselves, the attack started.
“The attack was so sudden, for the first few minutes we could not even gather what was happening. Immediately we requested the security guards to rescue us”, Shivam told Organiser.
Before the security guards could evacuate the ABVP activists, two had sustained fractures, and the other two had sustained head injuries.
Abhishek, an ABVP activist who sustained a fracture, told Organiser, “Not only they beat us, they also threatened us of dire consequences if we continue our association with ABVP. Their female colleagues threated us that they would get us embroiled in sexual harassment cases if we don’t quit ABVP.”
Devishri, a female student activist of ABVP, suffered injuries on her head and neck.
Since its inception, JNU has been the citadel of the Left politics. Since JNU’s inception in 1966, the Left has won the JNUSU President’s post more than 40 times. The JNU administration could not hold JNUSU elections for the last two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Left is dominant in JNU. But things have now started to change. They are very frustrated since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014. The 2019 victory has completely demoralised them. One reason for them being so aggressive is their complete meltdown”, said a political science research scholar who wished to remain anonymous.
Abhishek, a student of the political science department, told the Organiser, “The Left talks about liberalism, tolerance and inclusiveness. But they are the most non-inclusive, illiberal and intolerant ideology. At every available opportunity they love to show off their dominance. Even slight deviation rattles them.”
On January 5 last year, the Left students had attacked ABVP activists and badly thrashed them. The ABVP activists were dragged out of their hostel rooms and beaten up. The reports revealed how the Leftist students had targeted the ABVP activists.
One video of the January 5 incident had captured Aishe Ghosh, SFI student leader who contested the West Bengal assembly polls on a CPM ticket, leading a mob. Ghosh was elected the JNUSU president in September 2019.
“AISA and other Left organisations had put photos of ABVP activists on notice boards, asking students to boycott ABVP activists or face dire consequences”, a political science student quoted above said.
In October this year, the ABVP activists submitted a memorandum to Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar, demanding action on January 5 and other violent cases.
The memorandum read, “With due regard to your esteemed authority, We, the student representative of ABVP from the Jawaharlal Nehru University, wish to draw your attention towards the damage caused to Swami Vivekananda statue, ‘Vivekananda Marg’ and ‘Savarkar Marg’ signboards, public property such as Administrative building in 2019-20 and inaction on the part of administration.”
In the Sunday (November 14) violence case, the ABVP has lodged a police complaint against the Leftist students who in