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They switched off streetlights and assaulted us, say JNU students

NEW DELHI: A day after a massive march through the streets of south Delhi, the JNU Students’ Union presented several students who they alleged had been injured during the protest. The students accused policemen of assaulting them, while a few women students claimed being manhandled and molested during the confrontation. Addressing the media at the administration block in Jawaharlal Nehru University on Tuesday, JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh described the conduct of Delhi Police and CRPF on Monday as “beyond shameful”. “They switched off the street lights and assaulted students,” she claimed. Many students talked about their experience. “I was trapped near the barricade and was hit by lathis,” alleged Sucheta Talukar, a second year MA student in history. “I was also attacked by male policemen. Later we were detained and taken to places but no female police officers accompanied us.” MA German student Priyanka Yadav similarly accused a policeman of molesting her during the scuffle on Baba Gangnath Marg. Shashi Bhushan, a visually challenged student and elected school councillor, alleged that policemen trod on his chest. “Police claimed students were indulging in violence, but how can a blind man like me do such things?” Bhushan said. “You call us Divyang and this is how you treat us.” Bhushan said he was at Jorbagh when some protesting students informed him that the streetlights had been switched off. “The cops said they wouldn’t beat me if we dispersed, but nevertheless used a lathi on me,” he maintained. “When I pleaded that I was blind, they threw me to the ground and stepped on me, asking me why I had come to the protest if I was blind.” A Delhi Police officer said: “We will look into any complaint of assault and take necessary action. We request students injured during the protest to get a medico-legal examination conducted after which the enquiry will be initiated. ABVP also condemned the “police brutality”, but objected to the mode of protest used by JNUSU. The RSS-affiliated students’ group said it would continue to protest against the fee hike, but not alongside JNUSU, which it said, “continued to bash the Sangh groups and ABVP despite our support”. JNUSU president Ghosh disclosed that after Monday’s march, union leaders had met the secretary of the HRD ministry and submitted a preliminary response to the queries of the high-power committee set up by it to resolve the hostel fee issue. Ghosh alleged that the MHRD committee summoned the JNU Registrar, “but we heard he has declined” the request. She added, “JNUSU requested the MHRD panel to have all notices or FIRs against students withdrawn and tell the university administration that no action should be taken against those who are protesting for a just cause.”