Police in India have filed a case against a left-wing student leader and 19 others for vandalising a server room on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Saturday, but have yet to make any arrest into Sunday night’s brutal mob attack in which dozens of students and teachers were injured.
JNU Students Union President Aishe Ghosh, who was attacked by masked assailants on Sunday night, was named in the first information report (FIR or police complaint) of the Delhi police on Tuesday.
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Ghosh was among at least 31 other students injured on Sunday when the mob of about 50 masked people raided the New Delhi-based university, attacking students and teachers with iron rods, sticks and sledgehammer and vandalising property.
Kavita Krishnan, a left-wing leader and JNU alumnus, dubbed the police case against Ghosh “outrageous”.
This is outrageous. Aishe Ghosh herself has been a victim of murderous act and you are filing an FIR against the victim
Kavita Krishnan, JNU alumnus
“Aishe [Ghosh] herself has been a victim of murderous act and you are filing an FIR against the victim, whereas in the presence of Delhi police a whole hoard of assailants armed to the deep, walked out of the campus, battered on the back the police and they didn’t arrest anyone,” she told Al Jazeera.
The JNU Teachers Association, which has sought vice chancellor’s dismissal, also questioned the logic behind the FIR.
Members of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union shout slogans during a protest against the mob attack [Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images]
“It seems to be very clear that they want to escape from responsibilities on what has happened during the mob violence,” Surajit Mazumdar, the secretary of JNU Teachers Association, told Al Jazeera.
“I can’t see any other purpose behind his. I don’t understand on what basis and evidence are they, otherwise, filing an FIR against the JNU Students’ [Union] president who was badly injured.”
‘No immediate arrests’
At a news conference on Monday, Ghosh blamed the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for the violence that has caused outrage and triggered nationwide protests. ABVP is a student group affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) – the ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“It was an organised attack. They were singling out people and attacking. There is a clear nexus of JNU administration, security police and the ABVP vandals. They did not intervene to stop violence,” Ghosh was quoted as saying by the indianexpress.com website.
Police installed barricades near a road leading towards JNU campus [Nasir Kachroo/NurPhoto/Getty Images]
Witnesses had earlier told Al Jazeera the attacks on Sunday were carried out by ABVP members, a charge the right-wing student outfit has denied. The RSS-affiliated group instead blamed left-wing leaders for attacking its members.
Scores of riot police on Monday patrolled the university – the alma mater of several key ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet – picking their way past the shattered glass and broken doors and furniture. Police made no immediate arrests, but blamed the violence on “rival student groups”. On Monday, it filed a case against unidentified people on charges of rioting and damaging property.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) in a statement published on Tuesday accused the police of failing to protect students.
The police has faced criticism for handling of the situation, with videos shared on social media showing the police allowing the assailants to leave the campus.
“Students and teachers begged the police to intervene during the attack at Jawaharlal Nehru University, but the police simply stood and watched the attackers walk away,” Meenakshi Ganguly, HRW South Asia director, said in a statement.
Police have also been accused of brutalities against students at Jamia Millia Islamia University and Aligarh Muslim University for protesting against a new citizenship law passed in December.
“All too often police in India use excessive force and arbitrarily arrest peaceful critics of the government, but are derelict in their duty to maintain law and order when violent ruling party supporters are involved,” Ganguly said.
Despite repeated attempts, the Delhi police could not be reached for comments.
As condemnation of the attacks spread, more than 1,000 people held a vigil in Mumbai, India’s financial capital. Demonstrations were also held in Bengaluru, Kolkata and other major cities.
Nobel Prize winner for economic sciences, Abhijit Banerjee, a former JNU student, said the attacks had “echoes of the years when Germany was moving towards Nazi rule”.
The attacks had echoes of the years when Germany was moving towards Nazi rule
Abhijit Banerjee, Nobel laureate and JNU alumnus
The BJP denied claims by the opposition Congress party that it was responsible, and in turn blamed left-leaning student groups which dominate the JNU politics.
The government has promised an investigation, while Home Minister Amit Shah – a close Modi aide – told university administrators and police to maintain order at the campus, which has been tense since protests in November over fee increases.
The unrest comes as nationwide protests continue against the citizenship law that bars Muslims belonging to three neighbouring countries from getting citizenship.
Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets across the country, and more than 25 people have been killed. Critics say the legislation goes against India’s secular constitution, but Modi says the new law is intended to help “persecuted” minorities.
Meanwhile, India’s leading trade unions have called for a general strike on Wednesday to protest against the government’s “anti-people” policies.
Bilal Kuchay contributed to this report from New Delhi
US helicopters attack Syrian army checkpoint: State media |NationalTribune.com
State media reported the incident happened shortly after a US patrol was prevented from passing by an army checkpoint [AP Photo] Two US helicopters attacked a Syrian army checkpoint, killing one soldier and injuring two others, state media reported. The incident in northeastern Syria, near the largely Kurdish city of Qamishli, happened shortly after a…
State media reported the incident happened shortly after a US patrol was prevented from passing by an army checkpoint [AP Photo]
Two US helicopters attacked a Syrian army checkpoint, killing one soldier and injuring two others, state media reported.
The incident in northeastern Syria, near the largely Kurdish city of Qamishli, happened shortly after a US patrol was prevented from passing by an army checkpoint in the area on Monday, the agency SANA added.
It quoted a military source say saying that army personnel at the checkpoint prevented a US patrol from entering “the area where one of our military formations is deployed”.
“The members of the US patrol opened several rounds of fire,” it said before adding that “after about 30 minutes, two US warplanes attacked the army personnel at the checkpoint”.
The injured were rushed to Qamishli National Hospital.
Northeastern Syria is mainly under the control of US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces who are spearheaded by Kurdish fighters, but Syrian army forces are deployed in certain locations under agreements with Kurdish groups.
More to follow
Al Jazeera and news agencies
Gunmen attack Pakistan stock exchange building in Karachi |NationalTribune.com
At least seven people have been killed after gunmen stormed the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in the southern city of Karachi, firing indiscriminately as they entered the building complex, rescue officials say. Four attackers stormed the building at 10am (05:00 GMT) Monday morning as trading began, carrying hand grenades and firing automatic rifles. All four attackers…
At least seven people have been killed after gunmen stormed the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) in the southern city of Karachi, firing indiscriminately as they entered the building complex, rescue officials say.
Four attackers stormed the building at 10am (05:00 GMT) Monday morning as trading began, carrying hand grenades and firing automatic rifles.
All four attackers had been killed by police and security forces responding to the attack, said Faisal Edhi, head of the Edhi charity and ambulance service which serves the city.
“The attackers had hand grenades with them. Two of them were killed at the gate, and two were killed further inside the building complex,” said Edhi, whose office is located opposite the PSX in Karachi’s main commercial district.
“We were hearing explosions going off [from our building],” he said.
The dead include the four attackers, a policeman and two civilians, said Edhi. Seven others had also been wounded in the attack, he said.
Senior police official Sharjeel Kharal told reporters outside the PSX building that the security operation to clear the building was complete.
“Right now the information is of four [attackers], all four killed. One sub inspector was killed and three policemen were wounded, and two of the stock exchange’s guards were wounded as well,” he said.
The Baloch Liberation Army armed group claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released while the security operation to clear the building was ongoing.
“Majeed brigade of Baloch Liberation Army today has carried out a self-sacrificing attack on Karachi stock exchange,” read the statement, emailed to Al Jazeera.
The southwest province of Balochistan – Pakistan’s largest – has seen a decades-long rebellion by the Baloch ethnic minority for independence.
Members of the Crime Scene Unit of Karachi Police prepare to survey the site of the attack at the Pakistan Stock Exchange entrance in Karachi [Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]
‘We are all terrified’
Witnesses who were working inside the building at the time of the attack described hearing heavy gunfire and explosions as the attackers entered the complex.
“We are all terrified,” said Abid Habib, director of the Pakistan Stock Exchange. “There was gunfire and everything, and suddenly everyone was rushing to the windows to see what is happening.
“Because the firing was close by, everyone was very worried, and we closed our outside doors.”
Security forces responded to the attack, and paramilitary Rangers were clearing the building, Habib said.
Video footage of the attack – shot by an office worker in a building opposite the PSX complex and obtained by Al Jazeera – showed four attackers dismount from a car and take up positions at a security barrier to the building, firing at security guards.
Trails of blood were splattered across the stairs and an adjoining corridor of the building, two other videos and images sent by workers inside the building showed.
The PSX is Pakistan’s main stock exchange, with more than 2,000 employees normally working in the building for the Exchange and associated trading companies.
Employee turnout was lower on Monday due to the coronavirus pandemic, with many companies opting to allow their workers to work from home, said Habib.
Trading on the PSX continued uninterrupted throughout the attack on Monday, traders and equity analysts told Al Jazeera, as the stock exchange operates through an online system.
Policemen secure an area around a body outside the Pakistan Stock Exchange building [Asif Hassan/AFP]
Asad Hashim is Al Jazeera’s digital correspondent in Pakistan. He tweets @AsadHashim
Feds charge four men with attack on Andrew Jackson statue
Four men have been charged with damaging and trying to tear down the Andrew Jackson statue near the White House, federal prosecutors announced Saturday night. One, Connor Matthew Judd, has already been arrested and appeared in court Saturday. The other three were at large as of the announcement, prosecutors said. They are identified as Lee…
Four men have been charged with damaging and trying to tear down the Andrew Jackson statue near the White House, federal prosecutors announced Saturday night.
One, Connor Matthew Judd, has already been arrested and appeared in court Saturday.
The other three were at large as of the announcement, prosecutors said. They are identified as Lee Michael Cantrell, Ryan Lane and Graham Lloyd.
Prosecutors said all four were caught on video using straps to try to pull down the statue, which stands on federal land in Lafayette Park, across the street from the White House. The statue was targeted earlier this week as an outgrowth of the Black Lives Matter protests that have roiled cities across the country over the last month.
The four men also give a flavor of the protest” Mr. Judd, 20, is a resident of Washington,D.C.; Mr. Cantrell, 47, is from Virginia; Mr. Lane, 37, is from Maryland; and Mr. Lloyd, 37, is from Maine.
“This office remains steadfast in its commitment to protect the sacred First Amendment right of individuals to peacefully protest, but these charges should serve as a warning to those who choose to desecrate the statues and monuments that adorn our nation’s capital: your violent behavior and criminal conduct will not be tolerated,” said Michael R. Sherwin, the acting U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia.
Mr. Judd appeared Saturday in Superior Court but the case will be transferred to U.S. District Court, the Justice Department said.
Attorney General William P. Barr had said on Thursday that charges would be coming. He said agents were scouring video of the park to see who could be identified among the protesters.
President Trump has insisted those who tried to bring down the statue face charges in order to send a signal. Over the last couple of days he has been posting federal law enforcement “Wanted” posters to Twitter with photos of some of those the U.S. Park Police is attempting to apprehend for the statue attack.
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