Police said they are looking at videos circulating on social media to identify attackers and were recording statements of eyewitnesses. JNU students groups have criticised the police’s handling of the case and said their action raises more questions than answers.

Karn Pratap Singh

More than 48 hours after groups of masked men and women, armed with sticks, hammers and iron rods, assaulted students and teachers at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus — said they have not been able to identify and arrest the perpetrators of the violence as the main server of CCTV cameras was damaged.

Police said they are looking at videos circulating on social media to identify attackers and were recording statements of eyewitnesses. JNU students groups have criticised the police’s handling of the case and said their action raises more questions than answers.

HT on Tuesday spoke to several Delhi Police officers on some of the key questions .

Why no arrests yet?

Explaining the delay in the arrest, investigators said they were finding it difficult in gathering evidence because none of the four CCTV cameras on campus were functioning at the time of the attack, as the main server had been damaged by agitating students on Saturday, a day before the mob attack.

The police said they are yet to get the original videos and pictures taken on cell phones, as students who captured them had either left the campus or could not be contacted.

“We are contacting students through wardens and other officials of Sabarmati and Periyar hostels and asking them to provide us the videos and pictures. Some of the students have agreed. There are around 10-12 videos related to the attack,” said deputy commissioner of police (crime branch) Joy Tirkey, who is heading the special investigation team (SIT) that is probing the case.

On Tuesday, the SIT issued a “public appeal” seeking videos, pictures or any information related to Sundays’ violence inside the campus.

Cops waited at gate during violence

According to the FIR, the JNU administration sent the police a “request letter” for restoring law and order, when the first incident of violence was reported from Periyar hostel at around 3.45pm on Sunday. This is when 116 police personnel stood outside the main gate while the second round, and the most brutal, attack was taking place around 7pm.

On this, deputy commissioner of police (south-west) Devender Arya said that there were some “clerical mistake” while framing the FIR and they received the “written permission” from JNU administration only at 7.45pm.

“At 8.42pm, the SHO of Vasant Kunj (North) police station got the actual time of receiving permission (7.45 pm) logged in the daily diary register through a call made to the duty officer from the campus,” he added.

While the JNU students and teachers have been alleging that masked miscreants walked out of the campus in front of the police and there are videos and pictures of the same, DCP Arya said that by the time 116 police personnel entered the campus, the mob had dispersed. “I can’t comment on the authenticity of the video or pictures,” he said.

How did the intrusion happen? Were outsiders involved?

The students and teachers of the varsity, including those injured in the attack, alleged that many outsiders were also part of the violent mob and they were allowed entry by students affiliated to the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). They also alleged that many of the attackers were masked.

SIT officials said that they are scanning visitors entry registers of all entry and exit gates to ascertain if outsiders had entered the campus with intent to carry out violence. “Our initial probe has revealed that private security staff present at the gates only write registration numbers of vehicles entering the campus. They only check IDs of student, teacher or staffer present in the vehicle and do not ask for IDs of other occupants,” said an officer, requesting anonymity.

DCP Tirkey said that they will examine dump data of cellphones on the campus on Sunday to ascertain whether outsiders were present.

Street lights off, assaults at gate in police presence

Many people, including political leaders like Yogendra Yadav, have alleged that goons assaulted them and media persons outside the main gate of JNU, even as police personnel present at the spot did nothing to stop or nab the attackers. They also alleged that streetlights in the area had been “deliberately” switched off .

DCP Arya said that police had no role in switching off the light and that the police personnel present outside the gate intervened whenever any assault was brought to their notice.

“Most of us were inside the campus. Outside the gate, there were supporters from both groups and they were shouting slogans against each other. We have not received any complaint regarding the assaults,” added Arya.

Courtesy Hindustan times