Unprecedented violence was witnessed in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Sunday as several masked individuals, both male and female, thrashed students, including girls, and teachers inside the campus with wooden and metal rods, injuring many.
At least 34 people, including JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh — who was reportedly hit over the eye with an iron rod — were injured as chaos reigned on the campus for nearly two hours.
The Delhi Police has reportedly identified some of the masked assailants and a complaint has been filed.
The mob was seen carrying hammers, iron rods, sledgehammers and stones in videos and photographs that emerged out of the JNU campus.
Following the unprecedented violence, Home Minister Amit Shah reportedly spoke to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and requested him to call representatives from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and hold talks.
Shah has ordered the Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to take all necessary action to control the situation in the campus. He also ordered an inquiry.
Meanwhile, Secretary of the Human Resource Development Ministry has called the Registrar, Proctor and Rector of JNU to his office today.
Eyewitnesses have said the 50-odd goons entered the campus around 6.30 pm on Sunday.
The JNUSU tweeted that the attackers were “unknown ABVP goons” and were even beating up professors trying to protect students.
However, the RSS-affiliated outfit has denied the charges.
Meanwhile, the ABVP has claimed that its presidential candidate Manish Jangid was injured badly and may have suffered a fractured hand after he was assaulted.
The students’ union has also claimed that although police were inside the campus since Sunday afternoon, they did nothing to stop the terror.
The police carried out a flag march late at night inside the 1,000-acre campus to ensure there are no members of the mob remaining.
Meanwhile, according to reports, students blocked a police flag march led by special commissioner of police (law and order) RS Krishnaiah early on Monday in at least two places inside the campus.
They blocked the police at the t-point near Sabarmati hostel but the force managed to dodge the blockade and continued to march towards the convention centre, a report in Hindustan Times said.
The police were blocked again by the protesting students and they continued to shepherd the force towards the North Gate of the JNU campus.
Condemning the violence, the university administration said Sunday’s incident was linked to the agitation over a fee hike. Students opposing the hike wanted to disrupt the admissions process and there have been clashes and vandalism on Friday and Saturday.
The registrar said in a statement said that students against registration process beat up those in favour of it before the police could reach.
Delhi Police public relations officer MS Randhawa held a late-night meeting with a delegation of students and teachers from JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia university and Delhi University at the Police Headquarters in central Delhi.
“The police have assured us that they will look into the matter and our demands,” president of Federation of Central University Teachers’ Associations Rajib Ray said.
Meanwhile, Union Ministers S Jaishankar and Nirmala Sitharaman, both alumni of JNU, have condemned the violence in the campus.
Union Finance Minister Sitharaman said the pictures of violence were horrifying and asserted that the Government wants universities to be safe spaces for all students.
“Horrifying images from JNU- the place I know and remember was one for fierce debates and opinions but never violence. I unequivocally condemn the events of today. This government, regardless of what has been said the past few weeks, wants universities to be safe spaces for all students,” Sitharaman, who did her MPhil from JNU, said in a tweet.
Jaishankar, who has an MA in Political Science and an MPhil and PhD in International Relations from JNU, tweeted: “Have seen pictures of what is happening in JNU. Condemn the violence unequivocally. This is completely against the tradition and culture of the university.”
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi also condemned the incident strongly and attacked the Central government over the violence.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said he was shocked by the violence.
Kejriwal had called a meeting at his residence over Sunday’s violence. Senior Aam Admi Party leaders and Delhi ministers were present in the meeting.
CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, also a former JNUSU leader, also condemned the violence, and the party’s student wing, the Students Federation of India, called for a nationwide protest on Monday.
Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati termed the violence in JNU as “highly condemnable and shameful”.
Strongly condemning the incident, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the onslaught on students is the “result of intolerance”. “The Nazi-style attack on students and teachers on the campus of Jawaharlal Nehru University are carried out by those who want to create unrest and violence in the country,” he said.
He further said that the “Sangh Parivar forces must withdraw from this dangerous game of bloodshed on campus” and warned that “it would be good if they understand that voice of students is the voice of the land”.
The BJP also condemned the violence but called it a “desperate attempt by forces of anarchy” misleading students to achieve their own political goals.
“We strongly condemn the violence on the JNU campus. This is a desperate attempt by forces of anarchy, who are determined to use students as cannon fodder, create unrest to shore up their shrinking political footprint. Universities should remain places of learning and education,” the party said in a tweet.
Following the attack on JNU students and teachers, thousands across the country registered their protest.
In the national capital, at least 500 students and alumni from universities in Delhi protested outside the old Delhi Police headquarters at ITO on Sunday night after the JNU attacks.
Students from various colleges across Mumbai gathered outside the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel near the Gateway of India to condemn the violence.
Students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) also took out a candlelight march on Sunday to protest the violence at JNU.
The AMU Teachers’ Association (AMUTA) released a statement urging the Chief Justice of India to take suo motu cognisance of the “unprecedented situation arising from Sunday’s assault on JNU students and teachers”.
about 300 people, including students and activists, took out a protest march in Chhattisgarh’s capital Raipur at around midnight against the violence that unfolded inside the JNU campus.
In Bihar, students associated with the All India Students Federation (AISF) also staged a protest outside Patna University office.
According to intelligence reports and students, the genesis of the clashes began in the confrontation between students seeking to stall the semester registration process as part of their agitation against the hostel fees hike and groups opposing them. Members of the earlier group were allegedly behind the disruption of the varsity’s Wifi network late on Friday.