JNUSU elections: After a long night of tension, jubilation
Slogans and the sound of daflis and drums filled the air at 2pm inside the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Sunday after it was announced that the United Left had swept all four seats
Slogans and the sound of daflis and drums filled the air at 2pm inside the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Sunday after it was announced that the United Left had swept all four seats in the university’s student union elections.
Within minutes, the counting venue transformed into a sea of red as hundreds of students assembled holding red flags and hurling red gulaal in the air.
Sunday afternoon’s atmosphere, however, was in stark contrast to the one on Saturday night when the campus was gripped in fear after messages started doing rounds on WhatsApp claiming some students had assembled in the university with “weapons and lathis”.
In the messages, students had been asked to assemble at the counting centre — School of International Studies (SIS) building — to help others in case any instances of violence break out.
“I forced myself to sleep for few hours last night. The entire campus was immensely tense. We were receiving messages that a car full of weapons had reached the campus and violence can erupt at any moment,” said Samiksha, a resident of Koyna hostel at JNU.
The police, however, said they were unable to find any weapons at the campus.
Another student said he heard rumours that someone had fired a gun near Jhelum lawns late at night. “We were freaked... It was crazy. Firing at the campus is not something you hear every day... However, it turned out to be just a rumour,” the student said.
The JNU campus witnessed drama throughout Saturday when the counting for the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) election was suspended for over 14 hours after some leaders accused the RSS-affiliated Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) of breaking into the counting centre and manhandling election committee members. The ABVP, meanwhile, claimed the counting had started without its agent being present.
The day was further marred with clashes and altercations between the ABVP and Left groups following which heaving security, including two companies of the CRPF, were deployed at the campus.
The counting was resumed at 6:30pm after the groups agreed to break the deadlock. However, the tension gripped the campus through the entire night with several rumours of violence sprouting up.
At around 11pm, another rumour made round at the campus that a student was kidnapped by some unidentified persons from the main gate.
“I, along with my two friends, immediately rushed to the main gate. Guards told us nothing like that had happened. It was so scary. We get easily scared since the disappearance of Najeeb Ahmed,” said Lily Tksing, a student a school of languages.
DCP (south-west) Devender Arya later issued an advisory asking the students to “resist rumours”. “Please resist rumours. We are available at all gates. No such thing has happened,” he said.
Later, at around 11:30, four students, including a former JNUSU member, alleged they were attacked by some unidentified men outside the campus. The students said that they have filed a police complaint in this regard. The police, however, said that are looking into it and will take suitable action.
“It was like one of those longest dreadful nights we had witnessed in the aftermath of February 2016 incident. But, we are glad that it was followed by such a beautiful day,” said Saurabh Singh, a student.