Police brutality in the wake of peaceful JNU protests

Students sustain multiple injuries as police resorts to lathi charge


Thousands of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, carrying placards and chanting slogans marched towards Parliament in the first day of the Winter Session on Monday, demanding a total rollback of the hostel fee hike, The Indian Express reported.

The students sat at Safdarjung Tomb, demanding a release of those detained and a meeting with the officials of the ministry. The Delhi Police said that the students were not given permission for the march and attempted to stop the marching students at Ber Sarai.

According to reports, JNU students were lathi charged and several others detained as they started their march towards the Parliament. In light of the protests, Section 144 was imposed in New Delhi. Several officers in plainclothes brutally assaulting students and manhandling women during the protest.

“Is lathi charge and breaking heads of JNU Students, and leaving them bloodied the humanity of the Delhi Police? When they were thrashed by lawyers, they remembered the dignity of the uniform? Don’t such incidents stain the uniform?” Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh tweeted.

Senior CPI leader Sitaram Yechury said that such a massive deployment of forces was not seen even during the Emergency.



The JNUSU has put forward its demands – the first of course being the total rollback of the fee hike and the second being the JNU students union and the JNU Teachers’ association must be treated as stakeholders.

Students, who this time around revived the ‘Azaadi’ slogan for the fee hike, sustained injuries in the lathi charge by the police. Yet, they asserted that they would not relent until the government withdrew the hike.

Last year, the police had run riot at a JNU rally against alleged sexual harassment by a teacher and cuts in admissions. An inspector was then suspended for molesting a woman reporter, and a woman news photographer was beaten and her camera snatched by cops.

Monday’s march had been the first protest for Sachin Kumar, 18, son of a single mother who works for a daily wage in Churu, Rajasthan. Kumar, pursuing a BA in the Russian language, is the students’ union’s youngest councillor.

“We didn’t expect such a brutal response to a peaceful march. All our parents are watching TV and are calling us to say, ‘Stay behind the march’,” Sachin said.

“I studied at a Navodaya Vidyalaya, and subsidised education is my only option. This violence only strengthens our resolve to fight back till we ensure that our affordable hostels remain that way. The government wants to deny this because we are publicly funded and yet dare to question them.”







JNUSU vice president Saket Moon said, “The police is telling us they will take a delegation to meet HRD officials. We will decide on sending a delegation only after our fellows detained at unknown locations are released. We want representation in the HRD panel.”

Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Human Resource Development appointed a three-member committee to recommend ways to restore normal functioning of the JNU which has been witnessing periodic protests by students over a variety of issues.

The right to protest is a democratic right in India. Today, the JNU students were only marching towards the Parliament to make their pleas heard and demand affordable education for people from all sections of society. But the brutal and unnecessary force shown by the military on higher orders of the government and the refusal to accept students as stakeholders in the education system, show the travesty of the workings of the same in India.

What’s worse is the continued silence of the Vice Chancellor. He knows that one statement by him regarding cooperation with the students will bring the whole situation under control and soothe the frayed temper of the protestors. Since no word is coming in from him, would it be safe to assume that the Modi-Mamidala connection is right and he is a explicit contributor to the current circumstances?

JNU students have been on strike for the last three weeks after the introduction of a new hostel manual that almost doubles the hostel fees, raising them above the annual stipend of Rs 60,000 a non-NET fellowship brings.

Union human resource development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal had been stranded at JNU’s convocation for several hours last week because of protests outside.

Although Pokhriyal and the University Grants Commission secretary has met the protesting students, vice-chancellor M. Jagadesh Kumar has confined himself to issuing appeals to the students in print and video to call off the agitation.

The varsity had approved the changes at an executive council meeting held outside the campus, offering a rebate to “below poverty line” students — an outdated categorisation that is currently not defined.

“My mother earns only Rs 2,300 a month but she would still not qualify under the BPL category, which is defunct anyway,” Sachin said.

While the police blocked the student march at JNU’s gates, the HRD ministry constituted a “high power committee” around 11.30am to talk to the students and university authorities and recommend ways to end the agitation.

The committee members include former commission chairperson V.S. Chauhan, current commission secretary Rajnish Jain and the All India Council for Technical Education chairperson Anil Sahasrabuddhe.


JNU: Students march towards Parliament, teachers ask VC to step down
“Fee hike rollback is fake”: JNU students
JNU clashes reveal the government’s skewed priorities on higher education
Protesting JNU students target media, target female journalists
JNU Protest: May Have to Quit After Fee Hike, Say Students
Students, Cops clash at JNU on convocation



Related Articles