Archives  >  2020  >  January  >  6th

JNU, Beaten Up

1. What’s the story?

Sunday evening saw a large group of masked men unleash unprecedented violence on students and teachers of Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University — arguably one of the best educational institutes of the nation. This attack has come at a time when parts of the country is still on the boil with regular protests against the newly minted citizenship acts. The situation still remains tense.

Tell me more.   

A masked mob armed with sticks and bricks attacked students and teachers inside the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on Sunday. Aishe Ghosh, president of Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union (JNUSU), is among those attacked, and has sustained head injuries. JNUSU claimed members of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) were behind the attack.

“ABVP in police presence is moving around with lathis, rods, hammers with their faces under masks. They are pelting bricks, climbing over walls and getting into hostels and beating up students. Several teachers and students have also been beaten up!” the students union said in a statement.”

“Eyewitness accounts said that there was a “complete breakdown of normalcy at JNU”. The reports confirmed that students were pelted with stones and beaten with rods and lathis.”

AIIMS has confirmed that more than 25 students from JNU with mild to serious injuries have come in for treatment. There are reports of broken limbs and fractured skulls. The conditions of two of them remain serious. Several teachers were also severely injured — including sustaining serious head injuries.

ABVP, obviously, has denied these allegations — claiming that “unknown evil forces” attacked the university, and that they are being framed by the Opposition. 

While politicians, such as Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal have condemned this attack — the armed mob was still unchecked several hours after news of the attack started making the rounds.

So, what now?

This violence has come “weeks after the Delhi Police fired tear-gas and baton-charged students inside the Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi after protests were staged against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. This sparked protests at more than 60 universities and colleges across India.”

On Sunday evening, Opposition leader Priyanka Gandhi reached AIIMS to meet injured students, while Union minister Amit Shah apparently spoke to Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik about the deteriorating law and order situation in and around the area. 

There seems to be more to this than meets the eyes.

Keep your eyes on this space. We’ll keep you updated.  

2. Where else should I be keeping my eyes on?

Maharashtra, that’s where. If BJP leader Nitin Gadkari is to be believed, the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP alliance is due to collapse in a few days. Ministers apparently have already started resigning — with news of discontent trickling out steadily. 

“The alliance between Shiv Sena, Congress and NCP is “unnatural”, and the Maharashtra Vikas Aghadi government they have formed will collapse under its own weight, Union minister Nitin Gadkari said on Sunday.

Talking to reporters here, the BJP leader also claimed that one of the ministers in the Uddhav Thackarey-led ministry had resigned, but did not specify who was this minister. 

There have been reports over the past couple of days of discontent in three parties over portfolio allocation and rumours about some resignations.

The Sena had forsaken the cause of Hindutva and “Marathi Manoos” for power, and this was building up widespread anger against the party, he claimed.” 

Shiv Sena, in the meantime, has rejected these rumours.

3. What more?

In an important development in a neighbouring nation, a “court in Bangladesh Sunday issued an arrest warrant against Bangladesh’s first Hindu chief justice, Surendra Kumar Sinha, on charges of embezzling 4 crore taka (INR 3.4 crore). Sinha has been in the crosshairs of the Awami League Party government in Bangladesh since his 2017 verdict clipped parliament’s wings in removing SC judges, causing a political storm in the country.

In 2015, Sinha became the first Hindu chief justice of Bangladesh, and the 21st occupant of the office since the country’s independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Before becoming chief justice, Sinha delivered many important judgments, including on the killing of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the country’s founder, and the validity of the 5th, 7th, and 13th amendments to the constitution, according to The Daily Star.”

Sinha, who is currently in exile in the US, has declared the current Bangladeshi Government “autocratic”. In November, he had resigned from his position in absentia, citing the nation’s “undemocratic” regime as the reason behind his absence from the country and its Supreme Court.

4. Anything else?

A controversy is brewing in Bihar. Its Deputy Chief Minister, Sushil Kumar Modi, has declared that the first phase of the National Population Register is going to be conducted by the second week of May — sparking widespread panic and protests across the state. Industries Minister and JD(U) leader Shyam Rajak, however, claimed to not have knowledge of any such decision. (Quick recap: The NPR, which will be carried out under the aegis of the Registrar General and ex-Officio Census Commissioner of the country, is expected to create a comprehensive database containing particulars of the identity of every “usual resident” in the country. This database will contain demographic and certain other particulars.)

“Reacting to Modi’s statement, JD(U) spokesperson and former Rajya Sabha member Pavan Varma on Sunday wrote a letter to Nitish Kumar, urging him to “take a principled stand” against the Citizenship Amendment Act, National Register of Citizens and National Population Register. He asked Kumar to “reject the nefarious agenda to divide India and create a great deal of unnecessary social turbulence”.

Varma reminded Kumar of his “long-established secular vision” and asked him to give a clear-cut public statement on the matter. “The politics of principle cannot be sacrificed at the altar of short-term political gain”.

At least 26 people have died in nationwide protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed NRC. The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.”

5. Is that all?

Iranian General, Qassem Soleimani, was killed by an American drone strike, setting off widespread speculation about the likely fallout for geopolitics in the Middle East. Here are nine big questions about this major news, answered by an expert

“Soleimani was commander of Iran’s Quds Force, which is the overseas or foreign expeditionary arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the most significant and important branch of the Iranian military forces. It was established after the [Iranian] revolution.

Soleimani led the campaign that Iran has waged across the broader Middle East. Most notably, the counter-ISIS ground campaign, as well as the recruitment of essentially a transnational-Shia force to help bolster Bashar al-Assad’s grip on power and defeat his opposition in the civil war in Syria.

He has been a significant military leader in Iran since the revolution, but it’s also important not to overstate his centrality in terms of the institutional setting within Iran. He is probably the second-most important official in Iran, but there’s a pretty deep bench of Iranian military commanders and they have already named a replacement for him.”

6. Before you leave…

Take a look at the particle accelerator that could fit in your pocket

“The world’s largest machine is called the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). It’s in the shape of a ring with a circumference of 26 km, and cost $3.4 billion (Rs 24,262 crore) and 12 years to build. Using millions of electrical and mechanical components, it accelerates protons to extreme energies and smashes them against each other.

For the last few years, a team of researchers at Stanford University, led by Robert L. Byer, a professor in the department of applied physics, has been building a machine that also accelerates subatomic particles – but it’s so big, it could fit entirely on your fingertip.

That’s right.

This microscopic device belongs to a class of machines called tabletop accelerators that scientists are interested in for lower energy applications.”

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