JNU professor Ayesha Kidwai “put a target on my back”, says the student.
Suraj Kumar, a student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), has told the media that he was specifically chosen for targeting by a mob of stick-wielding leftist students that allegedly barged into his hostel on 5 January to assault him. He says his presence of mind saved him.
“I have been on their target since 23 December when the Delhi High Court passed an order in which it said that the vice-chancellor has to break the logjam and conduct exams,” Suraj tells Swarajya.
Kumar had filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court pleading that a mandamus be issued to the JNU for conducting fifth semester examinations of Bachelor in Korean Studies course.
“After the order came, Professor Ayesha Kidwai strangely interpreted it as a victory of the protesting students who weren’t allowing the exams to be conducted. And she wrote a Facebook post where she shared the court order and referred to me as ‘a luminary of the RSS’. They (the leftist students) have been calling me Sanghi since then,” Kumar told this correspondent on 8 January.
“She [Kidwai] put a target on my back. I only wanted to sit for exams and get my results so that I can apply for an international scholarship, deadline for which is 31 January. I badly needed the exams to be held on time. I have come here for studies. It’s not a joke,” he said.
Ayesha Kidwai is quite active on Facebook. Most of her posts are critical of the BJP government. In a post today, she has referred to the JNU chancellor as a ‘psycho’.
It is pertinent to note that Kidwai’s Facebook post referred to by Kumar does not mention his name. However, Kumar insists it was a sly at him.
Kumar further said, “On 5 January, I was in my hostel. Around 4pm, I heard that a mob is coming for me. I panicked. I didn’t know where to go so I asked one of my hostel mates to lock my room from outside while I hid under my bed,” he said.
“The mob came and started asking for me. They were baying for my blood. I could hear them saying ‘yahi hai wo Sanghi ka room’. After 10-15 minutes of creating a ruckus in the premises, they went away,” Kumar said.
Kumar said that while hiding under the bed, he called one of his friends asking him to inform the police of the attack. Kumar said he himself made a call to Police Control Room but no help arrived. Later, his hostel mates told him that they were looking for him and it would be better if he left the campus as soon as possible.
When things cooled down and heavy deployment of security forces was made in the evening, he decided to flee the hostel lest the mob comes for him again.
After 10pm, he packed his bags and left his room. On the way, he got a lift from a student who was on his bike. But as soon as he reached Sabarmati Hostel, he was caught by a group of “Naxal” students who spotted him, Kumar further told this correspondent. They blocked his way, dragged him down and started beating senselessly.
“Near Sabarmati Hostel, a group of 100 Naxals was blocking the road. Initially, they made way for our bike but then someone from behind shouted “yahi wo Sanghi hai”. They dragged me down from the bike and started punching senselessly. I started shouting very loudly “Sanghi hai to maar doge kya?”. A few metres away, there was heavy deployment of security personnel. They came rushing for my help, made a cordon, secured me and took me safely away from the crowd,” Kumar said.
He was safely escorted to the main gate from where he left for his friend’s place.
“In the group who beat me, there were five-six girls and more than ten boys,” Kumar said.
Suraj Kumar has filed an FIR in the Vasant Kunj police station, a copy of which is with Swarajya. The FIR details the panic calls made by one of Suraj’s friends to the police at 4.27pm.
“He was in a state of shock for a couple of days and has become normal only now,” Kumar’s friend, who made the call, told this correspondent.
Kumar says that since 16 July 2018, he has been organising ‘Hanuman Chalisa’ reading with a group of students every Tuesday evening in front of admin block near the Vivekananda statue.
“There is no love lost between us since then. But I never thought, we would be physically targeted,” Kumar says.