In the flood of video and images emerging from Sunday night’s violence at Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) by a masked mob that left at least 34 people injured, one visual trail appears to link the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP-linked students union, to the attack.
In one image, a young man identified as Vikas Patel, a member of ABVP’s JNU executive committee, is seen with a group of around a dozen young men armed with lathis.
Patel himself holds a fibre-glass baton, similar to those issued to the Delhi Police.
Standing next to him in a blue and yellow sweatshirt is a student identified as Shiv Poojan Mandal, a BA first year student in JNU, said to be affiliated to the ABVP.
The photograph is said to be taken on Sunday afternoon, before the attack on JNU.
Vikas Patel (right) and Shiv Poojan Mandal (centre) seen holding sticks.
In another set of images, Mandal appears to be seen with a larger group of lathi-armed men, making their way through the campus.
The men carrying sticks are seen taking a left towards the JNU building
The men were seen entering the JNU campus with sticks
Mandal also appears to be seen in a video shot at night time, when the armed group is seen exiting the JNU campus.
Both Patel and Mandal have deleted their social media accounts.
Patel’s number also features in a screenshot of a WhatsApp exchange in which a group of ABVP members appear to be discussing an attack on Left students on the JNU campus.
A WhatsApp screenshot appears to show a conversation among group of ABVP members.
The others in the chat purportedly include Yogendra Bharadwaj, a Sanskrit student at JNU, and Sandeep Singh, a PhD student in JNU.
Bharadwaj has deleted his social media accounts, but screenshots of his Twitter profile identify him as an ABVP member.
Yogendra Bharadwaj has deactivated his Twitter profile.
A post by Yogendra Bharadwaj on Twitter.
Sandeep Singh has also deactivated his account.
Sandeep Singh’s (centre) Twitter profile identified him as a PhD Student at JNU and an activist of the ABVP.
In the WhatsApp exchange, Bharadwaj speaks of ending “Left terror” and comments that “we should get hold of and beat them”.
All three discuss various points of entry into JNU of support from outside, including from ‘DU’, a possible reference to Delhi University.
The ABVP have denied their role in the violence, saying that the images and WhatsApp exchanges are morphed. They have also blamed the attack on Left student groups which control the students’ union.