NEW DELHI,KRITIKA SHARMA SEBASTIAN: Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) ate beef on the campus…
The slogan of ‘Pakistan Zindabad’, which landed Jawaharlal Nehru University in a massive political controversy last month, was raised by ‘outsiders’, according to the high-level internal committee that was constituted to probe the February 9 incident.
Though the internal committee report relies heavily on video evidence to identify students present at the venue, when it comes to identifying which student raised what slogans, the report cites ‘depositions’ of security guards present at the spot along with ‘unidentified eye-witnesses’.
Booking of the venue
On February 8, a booking requisition form was filled out by Umar Khalid. An undertaking was signed by four students: Khalid, Komal Mohite, Anirban Bhattacharya and Aswathi A. Nair.
The form had to be approved by the Rector, the approving authority. Ms. Mohite took the form to Prof. Anupama Ray to have it forwarded by her. The form sought permission to hold a “Poetry reading – A country without a post office” at the Sabarmati dhaba on February 9 from 5 pm to 7.30 pm.
Khalid took the form to the Dean of Students but as he was not available, the Additional Dean of Students signed it.
The form had to sent to the Rector for approval, however, the form was never taken to the Rector’s office
February 9 incident
As per the deposition of JNUSU joint secretary Saurabh Sharma of the ABVP, at 12 noon he wrote to the Vice Chancellor, Proctor, chief security officer and the Registrar that some students were planning an “anti-national event” at Sabarmati and submitted photographs of the posters put up. He also informed the police and the media.
Around 3 pm, Kanhaiya Kumar and Rama Naga were at the Registrar’s office to discuss some bus route.
The posters had the titles: “Against the Brahminical collective conscience”, Against the judicial killing of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat” etc.
Subsequently there was a meeting at 4.15 pm at the V-C’s office which was attended by the Registrar, Chief Proctor, chief security officer and the DOS. It was decided at that permission for this meeting should be withdrawn. At 4.30 pm, the Registrar got a call from a mobile number 9457565317 and the caller identified himself as Kanhaiya, who asked why the permission was withdrawn. The inquiry committee number could not confirm the identity of the said number.
The DOS instructed the chief security officer not to allow the meeting.
A security team led by O.P Yadav and Palni reached Sabarmati at 4.45 pm. They found Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya putting up posters and setting up a public address system. Khalid refused to stop the meeting and insisted that permission had been taken.
Among other students gathered there to organise the event were Ashutosh Kumar, Rama Naga, Shweta Raj, Chintu Kumari, Anant Prakash and Banojyotsna Lahri. According to some depositions, Kanhaiya came late to the venue.
Students gathered there slowly and following slogans were raised: Kashmir ke log sangharsh karo hum tumhare saath hein, Manipur mange azadi, Kashmir ke azadi tak jang rahegi jang rahegi, Hindustan ke barbadi tak jang rahegi jang rahegi, Go back India, Ek Afzal maroge, har ghar se Afzal niklega” etc.
Presence of outsiders
The security staff noted the presence of outsiders and this is confirmed by many eyewitnesses. This group had their heads and faces covered. This group shouted slogans like: Bharat ko ragda, de ragda, Aeen Hindutan ka manzoor nahi manzoor nahi, Go India go back, We want freedom” etc.
Along with this group, one JNU student, Mujeeb Gattoo, was also seen participating in the sloganeering.
The following slogans were also raised: “Hum kya mange azadi, bandook se lenge azadi, Indian army murdabad, Pakistan zindabad” etc.
About 35-40 ABVP members on the opposite side and shouted counter slogans like “Vande mataram and Bharat mata ki jai.” The slogan shouting on both sides continued till about 7.30 pm.
The crowd on both sides suddenly moved towards Ganga dhaba from Sabarmati. On side of the procession were Umar Khalid, Ashutosh, Rama Naga and Kanhaiya and on the other side were Saurabh Sharma, Vinit Lal and Shruti Agnihotri. There was scuffle but no violence and they were separated by the security guards. Mujeeb Gattoo is seen shouting “Hum kya chahte hain azadi, Hum cheen ke lenge azadi.”Another student, Mohd Qadeer was seen close to Gattoo.
The sloganeering continued till about 8.00 pm.
Witness depositions said it was the same group of 10-15 masked outsiders who shouted the slogans. The police had arrived, including the ACP and the SHO of the Vasant Kunj North police station.
As per many eyewitness accounts, Kanhaiya, Rama Naga and Anirban addressed the gathering here but what they said was not audible here.
The crowd dispersed between 8.30 pm and 9.00 pm; the outsiders also left the campus.
Click here to read/download the report (in PDF).