The Delhi Police on Friday released pictures of nine suspects in the JNU violence case and claimed JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh was one of them, five days after a masked mob assaulted students on the varsity's campus, leaving 35 injured, including her.
Ghosh was among seven of the nine suspects who are from Left-leaning student organisations, which have been opposing the hike in hostel fees and had called for a boycott of the semester registration process.
The January 5 violence at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is fallout of tensions brimming on the campus since January 1 over the registration process issue, police claimed.
Members of the Student Federation of India (SFI), the All India Students Association (AISA), the Democratic Students Federation (DSF) and the All India Student Federation (AISF) have been allegedly "creating nuisance and threatening students" against the recently started online admission process for the university's winter semester, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Joy Tirkey said.
He said a Whatsapp group 'Unity Against Left', believed to have been formed while the violence escalated, is also under the scanner.
Besides Ghosh, who is a member of the SFI, Dolan Samanta, Priya Ranjan, Sucheta Talukdar, Vhaskar Vijay Mech, Chunchun Kumar (an alumni) and Pankaj Mishra have been named as suspects.
Vikas Patel and Yogendra Bharadwaj, both from the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), are among the nine suspects in the case.
No one has been detained. Tirkey said notices will be served to the suspects.
Ghosh and eight others were involved in an attack at the Periyar hostel on January 5, he said.
The JNU Students Union (JNUSU) has been accusing the ABVP of being the force behind the attack that has left more than 35 injured.
Reacting to the developments, Ghosh, who was injured in the attack, refuted the charge, saying the Delhi Police should make public whatever proof it has against her.
She said police were quick to take cognisance of the complaint filed by the JNU administration against her but has not registered any FIR on her complaint.
The Delhi Police, which has come under fire for not acting when the students were being attacked, did not take questions from the media.
However, Tirkey admitted that a lack of CCTV camera footage was a major hurdle in the investigation into the January 5 violence case.
"The CCTV camera footage could not be fetched as the WiFi based system was disabled. The cameras were all disabled," he said.
"There is no primary evidence where some student or teacher or anyone can show us some proof like an originally recorded video on their phone. We have taken the help of viral videos and photographs to identify them (suspects) and sought their information from the JNU database," Tirkey said.
He also said since the hostel rooms were specifically targeted, it indicates an insider's role.
"JNU is so vast that the outsiders cannot figure out hostel rooms in the spur of the moment," Tirkey claimed.
Giving the sequence of incident, he said a majority of the students wanted to register for the winter semester from January 1 to 5, but the left-leaning students' bodies were not allowing them to do so.
On January 3, around 1 pm, members belonging to the four left-leaning student bodies barged into the server room, tampered with the server and shut it down, the officer said, adding that they also pushed the staff of the sever room outside.
"Three to four hours later, the staff of the varsity restored the server. Thereafter, police registered a complaint of assault, damaging public property and criminal intimidation," he said.
The JNU administration has already filed a complaint naming Ghosh and others, and a FIR has been registered. However, she has not been named as an accused yet.
Some miscreants again entered the server room from its rear side on January 4 and vandalised the room badly, following which another FIR was registered in that matter, Tirkey said.
"On January 5, around 11.30 am, four students tensed (over the registration process) were sitting on a bench in front of the School of Social Science... a group came and there was an altercation between them over the admission process. The security staff there tried to save them, but got injured," he said.
The DCP said that "at 3.45 pm, members of the four organisations went to the Periyar hostel and attacked the students there. Some JNUSU members were also there, including their president Ghosh".
Inside the hostel, specific students were targeted, police said.
Thereafter, there was a peace meeting was held outside the Sabarmati T-point, and it was attended by 120 to 130 students and teachers.
"Meanwhile, a group (of people) came there with muffled faces. They got into a scuffle with students at the T-Point and later barged into the Sabarmati Hostel. They knew which rooms were to be targeted," Tirkey said.
"The SIT officials have so far spoken to more than 40 people in JNU but the officials did not get any actual witnesses who have seen the entire incident or recorded it," Tirkey claimed.