Violence Takes Centre-Stage As JNU Awaits Election Results

The counting of votes was temporarily stopped after ABVP allegedly propagated violence. It has now been resumed

It’s that time when politics is all that is discussed in reputed varsities like Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU). At JNU, which is waiting for Monday’s results with bated breath, violence reigned supreme.

A few ABVP members gathered to instigate violence against members of the EC and security guards, who were guarding the counting venue on Saturday around 4 am. They broke the barricade and the glass door of the School of International Studies (SIS), the counting venue. The ABVP alleged that they had not been informed before the counting began. According to the rules, counting agents are asked to arrive before the counting begins.

Students say that three calls were made for the ABVP to send their agents, however, the counting process began because no one from the right-wing group’s student body responded to the call that was done through loudspeakers.

Apparently, 14 counting agents had reached the venue for 10 representatives, except ABVP. Early on Saturday morning, members of the ABVP allegedly broke into the counting venue and thrashed the guards and even assaulted EC members. “JNUSU EC 2018-19 hereby brings to the immediate notice of media friends that during the counting process, which had began yesterday (14th September 2018) at 10 pm has been suspended due to forcibly entering into the counting venue and attempt to snatch away the sealed ballot boxes as well as ballot papers from our counting centres. This was in addition to intimidation and violence on our Election Committee, including on our female members led by a Presidential and a Joint Secretary candidate,” the EC said in a statement, PTI reported.

The counting was discontinued after the violent episode propagated by ABVP. Fearing that this would cancel the elections, a collective statement was put out by representatives from a number of other parties, including the Left bloc, NSUI, BAPSA and others have demanded that “the ABVP members- Saurabh Sharma, Raghavendra Mishra, Akhilesh Pathak and others vacate the counting venue immediately to allow the election process to continue”. The counting of votes was finally resumed on Saturday evening.

Violence during student body elections has become commonplace. However, malpractices is also another issue that the election commission has to deal with. On Friday, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’s grand win at the Delhi University student body on Wednesday met a roadblock. The Chief Electoral Officer of the Election Commission (EC) declared that the electronic voting machines used in the elections were not issued by the electoral body.