Women feared for safety as violence unleashed in JNU between students, purportedly over issues of a fee hike in the university. Masked mobs attacked students and teachers with sticks and rods. A female student shares traumatic details of fear and concerns for their safety as the violence spread through the university hostels. Third-year PhD student from School of Foreign Studies in JNU, Sanskriti Rajkhowa speaks to SheThePeople and shares why such incidents drastically compromise women’s safety.
“We started to panic when we heard Aishe (She refers to JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh who was brutally attacked) Suddenly we see her bleeding head and that’s when we realized how bad it was. Ours is probably the biggest hostel in the campus so we mobilized people in the mess and that’s when we started to relay information that there are attackers who have started to illegally enter girls’ hostel with acid bottles in their hands,” says Sanskriti.
The students lodged in her hostel barricaded the doors after closing them down with tables and chairs in the mess. They carried pepper sprays and mirchi powders for self-defence. “We got all the women downstairs and we decided that we will stay in groups of three-four inside our rooms. We were trying to do what we can. They have done the most amount of violence in Sabarmati hostel area and also Mahi/Mandavi. They have also ransacked Periyar boys hostel. Just now we got to know that they are running around with acid bottles in their hands,”
A student of Jamia, and now JNU, she compares the two situations. “This is utter chaos and this is exactly how violence in Jamia unfolded. I was at Jamia too when the violence broke out there. Since I was an ex-student I had gone there in solidarity and I got caught in the clashes. It is equally as bad here except attackers here have got acid bottles on them and that is really freaking us out. We are a strength of 300 in the hostel right now so we could have dealt with mob attack but the fact that they have acid and once it is thrown at someone, that person is gone for life. It is beyond scary and this doesn’t seem like a normal university campus at all,” Sanskriti shares her horror.
Author Anand Ranganathan shared ground realities for women at JNU in a tweet. “Don’t know who began this violence, who gains from it; all I know is that we spent the last three harrowing hours getting two terrified girl students out from the lab they had locked themselves in because goons were roaming outside with acid, safe back home. Reality of JNU.”