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JNU violence: Suspects Akshat Awasthi, Rohit Shah, and Komal Sharma are absconding, confirms Delhi Police

Three suspects in connection with the JNU violence case – Komal Sharma, Rohit Shah, and Akshat Awasthi – are absconding, the Delhi Police confirmed on Tuesday. Earlier, the Special Investigation Team (SIT) of the Delhi Police, who is probing the January 5 violence at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), had identified a masked girl from one of the videos as Komal Sharma, a student of Daulat Ram College, Delhi University. The girl was a part of the mob that unleashed violence in JNU’s Periyar Hostel and is seen in the videos wearing a checked shirt with a stick in her hand and a mask on her face.

The cops on Tuesday added that the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) team has spent the entire day on January 14 in retrieving CCTV footage from the server and that the team will come again tomorrow to collect further evidence.

Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court had directed the JNU administration to provide CCTV footage to the police as soon as possible. In addition to this, Justice Brijesh Sethi had also directed Google and WhatsApp to preserve the data based on basic subscriber information of two WhatsApp groups linked to the violence on campus – ‘Unity Against Left’ and ‘Friends of RSS’. In reference to this, the court directed the Delhi Police to seize the mobile phones of the members of the two WhatsApp groups. The police have also been directed to summon the members who were a part of either one or both the groups.

The Delhi High Court was hearing a plea seeking to preserve and retrieve all relevant materials and evidence available related to the violence on the JNU campus on January 5. The plea had been filed by three JNU professors – Ameet Parameswaran, Atul Sood, and Shukla Vinayak Sawant – who sought directions from the court for the preservation and retrieval of all material and evidence available with WhatsApp, Google, and Apple pertaining to relevant data of the two WhatsApp groups, including messages, pictures, and videos and phone numbers of the members, related to the JNU violence.

The Crime Branch had identified nine faces on the basis of CCTV footage and circulated videos. Among these seven students belong to left student organisations and two belong to ABVP. 37 people from the 60-member WhatsApp group ‘Unity Against Left’ had also been identified by the Delhi Police. With 10 outsiders and 7 others, the total number of individuals that the cops currently suspect, in connection to JNU violence, is more than 53. The Crime Branch has also questioned wardens, 13 security guards and 5 other students of the university, the Delhi Police clarified, adding that the suspects will now be called in for interrogation.

On January 5, some masked men with sticks and iron rods entered the JNU campus and launched an attack on students and teachers, they entered students’ hostel and vandalized campus property. Several people, including JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, JNUSU General Secretary Satish Chandra, and many teachers received grievous injuries.