Was the violence against the JNU students organised via social media? A report in a leading English daily suggests that it is.
Messages urging people to “thrash the anti-nationals” in JNU allegedly did rounds of some WhatsApp groups in the hours leading up to the violence on campus Sunday. The Indian Express managed to contact six people from whose mobile numbers the messages threatening violence were made in the groups.
Out of the six, three said someone else may have “misused” their number to post the messages, one said his “friend posted the message”, two others said they entered the groups to “provide intel”. One person wrote: “Bilkul, ek baar thik se aar paar karne ki jarurat hai, abhi nahi marenge saalo ko toh kab marenge, gand macha rakha hai komiyo ne.”
When contacted, he said: “I am a JNU student pursuing PhD from the School of International Studies. Yes, I am from ABVP. The journalists are tarnishing the image of JNU.” Hours later, he added: “I am from JNU but I did not post those messages. Someone misused my number.”
Another post was made by a person in the group ‘Left Terror Down Down’, saying, “We have so much fun at JNU. Maza aa gaya. In saalon ko deshdrohiyo ko maarke.” When contacted, he said, “I’m a college student from Haryana. A few of us were having fun. Then we came across a post by a media portal on Left terror at JNU. My friend took my phone, joined the group and posted this. I reprimanded him. I’m not politically aware so don’t know if JNU students are anti-nationals or not.”
Another person posted “saalon ko hostel mai ghuske tode”. When contacted, he said he stays in Noida. “Who gave you my number? Disconnect the phone,” he said and abruptly cut the call.
Another person, who was in the group “Unity Against Left”, said he was there to “gather information about the plans to unleash violence on the campus”.
“I am in AIIMS Trauma Centre now. I am not a JNU student, but I stand with my comrades. I joined the group for intel. Later, they removed me. The link to the group was shared with me by someone,” said the person, dissociating himself from the ABVP.
Another person, in the group “Unity Against Left”, changed the name of the group to “Sanghi goons murdabad” at one point, following which he left.
When contacted, he said, “I am from Kerala. Someone had added me to the group. I am vehemently against the ABVP. I have nothing do to with the violence. In fact, I changed the name of the group.”