ABVP Activists Were Admins In Viral WhatsApp Screenshots Planning JNU Attack
The on-campus violence in JNU that shook the nation was allegedly planned through a WhatsApp group by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh.
Screenshots of conversations in the group were shared all over social media when some non-right-wing commoners and journalists managed to seep into the group for information.
“Saalo ko hostel mein ghush ke tode” (We entered into their hostels and beat them) was sent at 7:03 p.m. on Sunday discussion over WhatsApp. In response, a member said: “Absolutely, it is time to settle things once and for all. If we don’t beat them up now, then when? The ‘komiyo’ (communists) have spread filth.”
Scroll.in established the link between the first message and its sender. It was found through Truecaller that a person named Saurabh Dubey had sent the message. His Facebook profile showed him to be an assistant professor at Shaheed Bhagat Singh Evening College of the University of Delhi and he manages a group called “JNUites for MODI”. However, his social media account, as of now, has been deleted. Dubey has been unreachable.
An investigation by Newslaundry, who had some of their reporters in the group, revealed that out of the 18 admins of the WhatsApp group, 10 of them were linked to the ABVP.
Their WhatsApp group titled ‘Unity Against Left’ that could only be joined through an invite link, contained messages suggesting that the organisation and planning of the attack was done by the members of the chatroom.
When ‘outsiders’ began infiltrating into the chat, the violence had almost ended and the conversation was reaching its conclusion. Most people, including Anand Mangnale, had managed to get into the group by 8:30 p.m. as it was around that time when the invite link was being shared widely and had been made public.
The main group – ‘Unity Against Left’ was created by Yogendra Shaurya Bharadwaj whose twitter account now stands deleted.
In the screenshot below, the invite link was shared with by Yogendra Shaurya Bharadwaj with the caption: ‘Please join this group for unity against Left terror. Now it is time to beat them, this is our only chance.’
Before Yogendra Shaurya Bharadwaj was able to delete his social media accounts, Newslaundry managed to capture a screenshot of his Twitter profile where he has listed all his affiliations with the ABVP.
Additionally, in the screenshot above, the unnamed person who was discussing the entry points into JNU has been identified by the media as ‘Vikas Patel’ and the Scroll.in was able to confirm his association with ABVP. His Facebook profile stated that he is an executive committee member of ABVP and the former vice president of ABVP at JNU.
An investigation by India Today has also revealed that most of the members of these WhatsApp groups have either switched-off their numbers or have destroyed their SIM cards.
The few saved names visible in screenshot #1 have established links with either the ABVP or the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). JNU Nidhi, is a student of the university and affiliated to ABVP, Renu Saini has confirmed links to RSS, and Sandeep Singh is affiliated to ABVP, India Today reported.
Most group admins of the chatroom – ‘Unity Against Left’ have been confirmed as ABVP members with their declared association to the organisation.
On calling the numbers and cross-checking their identities via Truecaller and social media, media houses were able to solve the question where most of them came from.
Newslaundry captured the screenshots of the social media profiles of the people in question and ten of them were ABVP members.
While non-right-wingers were infiltrating the group, at 8:41 p.m. a message traced to Onkar Srivastava asked: “Leftists have entered the group. Why was the link (invite) shared?”
Post that, admins Anima Sonkar and Velentina Brahma removed the ‘infiltrators’ before dissolving the group.
The Logical Indian speculates that with the knowledge that the screenshots of their WhatsApp group were going viral, the admins changed the settings of the group to – ‘only admins to edit this group’s info‘ and ‘only admins to send messages to this group‘, and as a result changed the same group’s title to – ‘ABVP madarchod‘ so that any further images of their conversation will reflect that it was run by ABVP haters.
Newslaundry contacted the ABVP group admins Velentina, Anima, Manish, Venkat Choubey, Ashish Gupta, and Shubham Potdar, and asked them whether and why were they a part of ‘Unity Against Left.’ Almost unanimously, the contacted admins washed their hands off and claimed they were erroneously added to the group.
The Indian Express managed to get in touch with some of the group’s members, most of whom claimed that they had been mistakenly added to the group or their number was ‘misused’.
Even as the ABVP has officially denied any role in the attack their activist Anima Sonkar admitted in a Times Now debate on 6th January that her peers from the RSS affiliated student group were ‘asked’ to step out on Sunday with rods, pepper spray, and acid – to defend themselves.
These WhatsApp conversations against the backdrop of the masked intruders, mostly outsiders with no association with JNU, who wreaked havoc inside the campus by brutally assaulting students, has assumed decisive importance.
The Delhi Police claims that the real identity of these members is being established and they will soon be called for questioning with the help of their registered mobile number.