In an unprecedented turn of events, a mob of masked goons ran riots on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in New Delhi on Sunday evening. According to a statement released by the university administration, violence started after some students registered for the winter semester and a group of students opposing the same forcibly evicted the technical staff and made servers dysfunctional.
— Naive (@vimal_thinks) January 5, 2020
Since October this year, some students in JNU have been protesting against marginal hostel fee hike, which was eventually partially rolled back. However, they have not let the classes function since then. From 1st January, the university started registration for winter semester, however, the agitating ‘students’ were perhaps not quite pleased with the university coming back to normalcy.
Soon after the violence broke out, screenshots of WhatsApp conversations purportedly used by the mobsters to coordinate the violence started making rounds on social media. Part of such conversation was shared by controversial journalist Barkha Dutt in a tweet late night on Sunday.
This message is from a WhatsApp group called ‘Unity Against Left’ – I’ve edited out the group because of privacy laws on showing numbers, but the operative message retained : “main gate par kuch karna hai” against those who “support JNU” #JNUViolence pic.twitter.com/asXyRlfrsK
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) January 5, 2020
Dutt had said she had edited out rest of the WhatsApp group conversation owing to privacy concerns while sharing one message by one Anand. She had not blanked out the number in the WhatsApp chat. Anand was seen asking members of the group that some people in support of JNU are coming to the main gate, should we do something there?
The chilling message was from a group called ‘Unity against Left’, thereby implying that the sender of the message was ‘against Left’ and hence by default ABVP, the students arm of the Rashtriya Sevan Sangh. In fact, since the violence broke out in JNU, the usual suspects were busy propagating and making noise that it was the ‘ABVP goons’ who were on a rampage on campus despite the fact that they were masked.
On a side note, in last week of December, 2019, the ‘liberals’ had suggested ways to anti-CAA rioters to wear masks such that they could not be identified in facial recognition software used by the police.
The Delhi police took videos of protests to run them through facial recognition software to identify protesters.
Cover you mouth and nose + eyes or forehead. You can use make up and face paint too. Look it up if you have time but there are some simple and cheap solutions. pic.twitter.com/9XQS9JX3HW
— Sanitary Panels (@sanitarypanels) December 29, 2019
In fact, TheQuint had given elaborate tutorials on how to conceal the facial identity.
TheQuint giving tips on how to evade facial recognition softwares by wearing masks.
More tips to avoid getting detected. The armed goons who ran riots on JNU campus last night were also wearing masks and had covered themselves.
Coming back to the violence, the number which Barkha Dutt inadvertently shared on Twitter belonged to one Anand Mangnale. A Google search of the same number revealed it was the same number Congress had used for a crowdfunding campaign.
That page has now been taken off. Anand Mangnale has previously worked with JD(U)’s Prashant Kishore, who had earlier worked as strategist for ex-Congress President Rahul Gandhi in 2016 ahead of Uttar Pradesh state assembly elections. OpIndia could not independently verify whether Mangnale was part of team for Rahul Gandhi’s image makeover.
More such screenshots of WhatsApp conversations emerged where Anand had added ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ with his name to make it appear he supports the right wing.
When someone asks whether the police will come, Anand says, no, the ‘VC is ours’.
Anand asks the members of WhatsApp group ‘Unity against Left’ what should be done at the gate as ‘something should be done’. After the initial Congress link emerged in the JNU violence, Congress quickly tried to dissociate itself from Anand and discarded his association, whatever he had, with the party.
The SM team of INC had hired the services of several private vendors to run the crowd funding campaign, for a limited period before Lok Sabha Elections after which it was discontinued. The number belonged to a vendor and has nothing to do with INC.
— Congress (@INCIndia) January 5, 2020
In a tweet late night, Congress said that the number belongs to a private vendor they had hired for Lok Sabha elections and it had discontinued. “The number belonged to a vendor and has nothing to do with INC,” Congress tweeted.
However, as we have shown above, Congress had used Anand’s number for ‘LetsVenture for Wish Kids’ crowdfunding and not really for election campaign. This is just one of the many lies of Congress. Moving on, Anand is still very much part of crowdfunding for Congress and Congress leaders.
This tweet of his seeking funding for Gourav Vallabh, Congress’ national spokesperson, is as recent as November, 2019.
The new or rather the only star in @INCIndia Campaigns, who knows how to shut propoganda on TV debates, has taken a #Crowdfunding route for his #election.
If we are to build a real #Democracy which works for people, we have to keep the corporates out. https://t.co/tNlm1wPYlZ pic.twitter.com/YVEc6EFdDm
— Anand Mangnale (@FightAnand) November 25, 2019
After Anand’s connections with Congress were revealed in the JNU violence coordination group, Anand put up a clarification on his social media accounts.
Dear all, stop harassing @INCIndia on my number. This number was used as a test number when I was a vendor who helped them setup Crowdfunding campaign around 2 years back.
& YES, I infiltrated that group to get more info, so i could pass it to students & keep them safe pic.twitter.com/U9UVrxQM7k
— Anand Mangnale (@FightAnand) January 5, 2020
In his defence, Anand claimed he had “infiltrated the right wing group” to get information. He said he has added this number of his in various ‘right wing groups’ to keep a track of their activities. Wow. Congress crowdfunding campaigner also likes do double up as ACP Pradyuman.
Anand claims that when the group went a bit silent, he tried to provoke them by asking what is to be done on the main gate as he wanted to know where people are and what their plans are. Point to note here is that Mangnale is not a JNU student and is not even an investigation official. Even if one takes his words on facevalue that he wanted to apprise students of what is happening on campus, he did not really have any good reason to instigate violence.
His clarification casts aspersions that the group was indeed one created by ABVP and ‘right wing’ students to perpetrate violence on campus. As a lot of other messages from unknown numbers seem to be celebrating over the violence. One message by one ‘Auxous Trends’ read ‘how was today’s match’.
However, that does not seem to be the case either. Soon, netizens invoked their inner Sherlock and some Twitter users were able to dig deeper.
So this Congress’ Campaigner @FightAnand is saying that he infiltrated ABVP’s group. But, there are screenshots from creating of the group till dissolving it
1. He was added by admin of group. Didn’t joined by invite link
2. Who all are having conversation in group?: Ubaid-Adil pic.twitter.com/jXU57ssrbw
— Err ?? (@Gujju_Er) January 6, 2020
Twitter user Gujju_Er posted multiple screenshots of the same WhatsApp group which revealed more sinister details. WhatsApp has a feature where one can invite public to join a group by sending an invite link. As seen in second screenshot, Anand didn’t join the WhatsApp group by clicking on the invite link to join, but he was added by the admin of the group when it was created.
That means, Anand did not ‘infiltrate’ the group to keep track of ‘right wing activities’, but he was made part of a group which was made to appear ‘anti-Left’ and he posted anti-Left messages instigating violence so that when the screenshots are selectively released it would appear like ‘right wing’ and ABVP students coordinated violence.
In third screenshot shared by Gujju_Er, one can see a conversation between Congress campaigner Anand and one “Ubaid” and one “Bulla Adil” who are discussing what could be done at the main gate where JNU supporters were supposedly coming. “Ubaid” and “Bulla Adil” are unlikely to be ABVP activists.
Before his Congress connections were revealed, Anand had been tweeting live updates from inside JNU campus when the violence was taking place.
In front of me @DelhiPolice was telling Students go back to hostels, students denied saying they aren’t safe there. Together outside Sabarmati T point they are safe. While this was on one cop broke a tree branch & made a Lathi. Is this making sure students are safe?#JNUattack pic.twitter.com/2yz9xpnm8p
— Anand Mangnale (@FightAnand) January 5, 2020
If he is not a student or with the security agencies, what exactly was Congress crowdfunding campaign coordinator who also ‘infiltrates right wing WhatsApp groups’ to ‘keep track of their activities’ was doing on campus when violence broke out? Especially when his own conversation is all about trying to instigate violence.
Anand speaks about ‘T point’ where students had gathered to feel ‘safe’. Now, this ‘T point’ makes an appearance elsewhere.
Sharjeel Imam, JNU student and columnist with The Wire and TheQuint took to Facebook last night to say that around 8 PM, he and his associates donned helmets and started roaming near the hostel to ‘locate goondas’. He says that the police had control near the main gate. His statement of police asking students to go back to hostels corroborates with what Imam writes in his post. So, Imam and Mangnale were at the Sabarmati Hostel t-point at around same time.
Sharjeel Imam is the same person who wanted to burn down the constitution in JNU and have a ‘burning constitution ceremony’ on the campus after the Ram Janmabhoomi verdict. He was also one of the organisers of the road blockage at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi where anti-CAA protestors are holding a sit-in. He pulled out of the protests at Shaheen Bagh to hold a ‘Hong Kong style’ round two of protests. Hong Kong protestors have been holding demonstrations against the Fugitive Offenders Amendment bill by the Hong Kong government. The protestors have been extensively using masks, helmets to shield themselves from teargas as well as facial identification softwares.
Here is an image from JNU’s masked goons who had ran riots on campus.
There are multiple elements at play here. How is Congress involved in the JNU violence? Congress’ student wing, NSUI had been earlier involved in organising anti-CAA protests which had turned violent. The WhatsApp group is named ‘Unity against Left’ but clearly participants are from Congress and one can only guess whether “Ubaid” and “Bulla Adil” will be part of ABVP groups which as claimed by the ‘liberals’ were created to perpetrate violence on campus. If these are fake groups created to share screenshots of conversations pretending to be genuine conversation of coordinating violence and put the blame on ABVP, one wonders who gains from it. Surely, not ABVP. How far will the Congress ecosystem go to create chaos in India?