Exactly a year ago, on January 5, 2020 masked men armed with sticks and rods attacked students and teachers on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus. The violent mob damaged property and injured at least 35 people, prompting the university administration to call in the police. Many had been admitted to AIIMS Delhi following the attack. The news had sparked massive backlash, with educational institutions across the country calling for justice and holding protest marches.
Students and teachers from JNU, Jamia and Delhi University had submitted an application to the Delhi Police PRO with four demands, including urgent medical assistance to injured students and arrest of the accused behind the violence. Days later, on January 9, a PTI report quoted Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar to say that JNU had formed a five-member committee to probe the incident and recommend measures to ensure the safety of students. Three FIRs had also been registered.
Since then however, the probe appears to have fizzled out. While the subsequent February clashes in Delhi amid the CAA protests had been added to the investigation, there has not been much headway. On January 10 last year, the Delhi Police had released pictures of nine suspects in the JNU violence case and claimed JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh was one of them. Subsequently they had also questioned some of the suspects.
With the COVID-19 lockdown however, things appear to have been on a hiatus. According to an Indian Express report, while 15 suspects had been identified by the Delhi Police Crime Branch, these students had returned home as India went under lockdown. Reportedly, while the SIT had questioned around 88 people, recording statements from teachers, students, wardens, security guards and others follow-up investigation remains pending. “After questioning, we found names of some other suspects, but since the lockdown was announced, the team was not able to gather more conclusive evidence against them," the Express article quotes a source as saying.
As things presently stand, the University has shelved its internal probe as the police were already conducting an investigation, and the official efforts remain stalled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A year later, there has been no arrests made or charge sheet filed.
(With inputs from agencies)