Delhi

We don’t hope to get justice, says teacher first attacked by armed mob

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Assistant professor Amit Thorat recounts night of horror and how his heavy winter coat likely saved his life

The undulating Aravalli range which host the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) is perfect for biking.

In the afternoon of January 5, Amit Thorat, Assistant Professor of the Centre for the Study of Regional Developent, took his red bike to a meeting where a part of the JNU teachers community and students, led by the JNU Students’ Union, sat to discuss the future of anti-fee hike agitation.

As the meeting rolled into the evening, the gathering decided to walk carrying placards and posters for dialogue towards the Periyar Hostel, which falls near the main entrance of the campus. As the meeting turned into a small rally, they were told that a group of outsiders had entered the campus and were now standing near the gate of Periyar Hostel.

Sucheta Talukdar, a student of Centre for Historical Studies, and her friends who were passing by the hostel when a hail of bricks hit them. They ran towards the rally and raised an alarm that a large mob was waiting for them at the hostel gate.

Lights out

To check the situation, Dr. Thorat took his bike near the hostel. The lights had gone off inside the campus and what he saw in the twilight glow froze him. “There were around 50 to 60 boys swinging big sticks and rods in the air and sitting on the road. They had faces covered with handkerchiefs,” he said, recollecting the eerie sight.

“It was like a horror movie because at that point I thought these were not students of the campus and they had come inside to do something dangerous,” he said. The masked intruders had not noticed Dr. Thorat till that point. Sensing an opportune moment, he took out his phone from his winter jacket to click a photo.

In the dark, the flash of the phone drew the attention of the armed gang.

“Within seconds they surrounded me and demanded to know how many photographs I had clicked. I took out the phone and deleted the photograph. But by then they began to hit me on the shoulder, hands and back of my head,” said Dr. Thorat.

In pain

Thankfully, the blows were softened by his heavy winter jacket and woolen cap, but a blow to his right shoulder has kept Dr. Thorat in pain since the incident.

A part of the armed group had by then broken off and was brutally assaulting teachers and students near the Sabarmati Hostel.

JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh suffered serious inujries during the violence.

Four days later, Dr. Thorat recorded his experience with the Crime Branch of Delhi Police on Wednesday but he does not think that the police will find the culprits or find the real plotters of the assault on the campus.

He said that both the police and the university security apparatus had been complicit in ensuring the execution of the invasion of the campus by armed gang members.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2020 8:21:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/we-dont-hope-to-get-justice-says-teacher-first-attacked-by-armed-mob/article30518083.ece

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