Violence broke out on the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on Sunday evening, leaving several teachers and students injured. Video footage showed a masked mob wielding sticks and rods entering hostel buildings, sparking panic among students.
Twenty-three injured people from JNU had been admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Safdarjung Hospital, News 18 reported. Among those injured were the president of the students’ union Aishe Ghosh and faculty member Sucharita Sen.
The students’ union blamed the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad for the violence and claimed that members of the group had entered the university campus with rods. A research student told Scroll.in that the violence broke out after alleged members of ABVP began throwing stones at a protest march of students against the recent hostel fee hike proposal.
The ABVP is the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. The ABVP blamed the violence in JNU on “Naxals” or left-wing extremists.
In a statement, the JNU administration claimed the violence began when students opposing the hostel fee hike beat up others around 4.30 pm. Later, “masked miscreants” entered a hostel, it said, but did not comment on their identities.
Several Opposition leaders condemned the violence, holding the government responsible for the attack on students. The BJP, however, said the violence was “a desperate attempt by forces of anarchy, who are determined to use students as cannon fodder.”
The violence comes weeks after the Delhi Police fired tear-gas and baton-charged students inside the Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi after protests were staged against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. This sparked protests at more than 60 universities and colleges across India.
11:50 pm: Industrialist Anand Mahindra asked for the “armed, lawless goons” that entered JNU campus to be traced and punished swiftly.
11:40 pm: Congress Party’s Priyanka Gandhi spoke to injured students at the AIIMS trauma centre. She claimed one student told her that “the police kicked him several times on his head”.
11.30 pm: The JNU administration released a statement condemning the violence. Shifting blame for the violence to students opposing the fee hike, it claimed that around 4.30 pm, students blocking the winter registration process beat up other students. Later, “masked miscreants” entered Periyar Hostel with sticks and rods. “It is unfortunate that a group of students with their violent means of protests are preventing thousands of non-agitating students from pursuing their academic studies,” it said.
11.25 pm: The Federation of Central Universities Teachers Associations released a statement, condemning the attack on JNU students and teachers.
“The FEDCUTA unequivocally condemns the violence unleashed on the students and teachers of JNU by armed goons, orchestrated by the JNU VC and his henchmen,” it said. “The violence that has gone on now for two days and continued unabated for several hours today is a brazen attempt by the administration to terrorise the students and teachers who have bravely put up an unwavering fight to defend the University.”
11.20 pm: JNU students and teachers gathered at the West Gate of the campus and shouted ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ slogans at 10.45 pm. The main gate of the campus was blocked by right-wing activists who manhandled activist Yogendra Yadav and chased away journalists.
11:15 pm: Sharad Pawar, the leader of the Nationalist Congress Party, described the attack on JNU students and teachers as cowardly, planned and undemocratic.
11:15 pm: Protests have broken out at the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh against the attack on JNU students, PTI reports.
11:10 pm: Congress party’s Priyanka Gandhi spoke to reporters after meeting injured students admitted to the trauma centre at AIIMS.
10:55 pm: A video posted on Twitter by journalist Rajesh Mahapatra shows people carrying rods leaving JNU campus unimpeded by the police.
10:50 pm: Congress party’s Priyanka Gandhi Vadra arrived at AIIMS trauma centre to meet those injured in the violence inside the JNU campus, ANI reports.
10:45 pm: India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has condemned the violence on 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,” it said.
10.40 pm: In a video posted on social media, a student describes the mob attack on JNU’s Sabarmati Hostel on Sunday evening.
10.35 pm: Journalists continue to face aggression from right-wing activists outside the JNU campus.
10.30 pm: The Ministry of Human Resource Development called the attack on JNU campus “very unfortunate and highly condemnable”.
10.30 pm: Video footage recorded earlier on Sunday evening shows masked people with rods walking into a building inside the JNU campus, sparking a wave of panic among students.
10.25 pm: Earlier in the evening, Nidhi Tripathi, the ABVP national general secretary, said in a video posted on Twitter: “Naxals entered the hostels and beat students brutally with lathis. Many students are injured. These are the same people who desire that JNU is never normal. They want to destroy the JNU education system and shut down the university.”
10.20 pm: Reporters present on the spot confirm that an ambulance was chased away by the mob after its tyres were punctured.
10:15 pm: Delhi Police told ANI all hostel areas have been secured inside the JNU campus.
10.15 pm: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Twitter: “Horrifying images from JNU – the place I know & remember was one for fierce debates & opinions but never violence. I unequivocally condemn the events of today. This govt, regardless of what has been said the past few weeks, wants universities to be safe spaces for all students.”
10:10 pm: Delhi Police said a flag march is being conducted inside the JNU campus and the situation is under control, PTI reports.
10:05 pm: The Ministry of Human Resources Development has sought a report from the JNU Registrar regarding the violence, Indian Express reports.
10 pm: External affairs minister Dr S Jaishankar said on Twitter: “Have seen pictures of what is happening in #JNU. Condemn the violence unequivocally. This is completely against the tradition and culture of the university.”
9.50 pm: 23 injured students have been admitted to AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital, News 18 reports.
9.47 pm: A team of doctors and nurses that went to JNU to give first-aid to students was attacked by a mob and the windows of their ambulance was broken, said Harjit Singh Bhatti, the former president of the Residents’ Doctors Association at AIIMS in Delhi.
9.45 pm: Rahul Gandhi, former president of the Congress party, said the attack on JNU students was “shocking”.
9.45 pm: NDTV shows images of ambulances leaving the JNU campus.
9.40 pm: A protest has broken out in solidarity with JNU students outside the Delhi police headquarters, ANI reports.
9.40 pm: Several injured students have been reportedly admitted to the trauma centre at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
9.35 pm: A press conference by JNU faculty members at the main gate of the campus was disrupted by right-wing activists, reports Karnika Kohli of Scroll.in, who is present at the spot.
9.30 pm: ANI has tweeted a video which shows activist Yogendra Yadav being pushed back by a mob.
9.25 pm: Karnika Kohli of Scroll.in reports that a group armed with bats and sticks is stationed near the main gate. She overheard one of the members of the group say: “Beat up NDTV guys if you see them.”
9.20 pm: Activist Yogendra Yadav manhandled outside JNU, NDTV reports.
9.15 pm: Rohan Venkataramakrishnan of Scroll.in was recording a video of the sloganeering right-wing activists at the JNU main gate when he was surrounded, called a ‘Naxalwadi’, shoved around and hit on the head.
9.10 pm: R Mahalakshmi, professor at the Centre for Historical Studies, told Scroll.in: “I am getting frantic calls to rescue groups of students. There is panic. People are desperate. ‘We just want to get out,’ they are saying.”
Describing the events on campus, she said: “People with lathis, iron rods, going in a group, first attacked students in Sabarmati hostel at 6:30 pm. Earlier, they had mobilised outside Periyar Hostel’s warden office...Then they moved to Tapti and Koyna hostels.”
9.01 pm: ABVP, meanwhile, claims that Left-backed “goons” are attacking JNU students and ABVP activists.
8.59 pm: Shukla Sawant, professor of visual studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, who was hit on the head with a stone, tells Scroll.in on phone while at AIIMS that the teachers union had called a peace meeting at the Sabarmati dhaba around 4 pm. “After an hour, we were wrapping up,” she says. “But even as we were speaking we heard that a couple of outsiders were going from hostel to hostel, creating mayhem.”
“A huge bunch of people with their faces covered suddenly attacked us,” Sawant says. “They came running down the road pelting stones and beating people with sticks. They broke cars, they broke furniture. It was complete mayhem. Sucharita Sen, who teaches at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, was hit with a stone right in front of me.”
8.52 pm: Streetlights have been turned off inside the JNU campus, according to a Scroll.in reporter present on the spot. A group of right-wing activists have gathered at the main gate and are shouting slogans. Four ambulances have entered the campus from another gate. They were blocked at the main gate.
8.50 pm: ABVP alleges its activists and students were attacked by members of Left-backed student outfits.
8.48 pm: JNU Students’ Union tweets more photos of violence in hostels.
8.44 pm: Seven ambulances have been sent to JNU, and 10 ambulances are on standby, ANI reports, quoting Delhi government.
8.43 pm: Heavy police presence at the main gate of the university, ANI reports.
8.42 pm: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says he is shocked to know about the violence at JNU. He says police should immediately stop the violence and restore peace. “How will the country progress if our students will not be safe inside university campus?” he asks.
8.40 pm: An eyewitness video shows students being attacked by a masked mob.
8.20 pm: Another student presently inside the university tells Scroll.in: “The goons who entered the campus threw acid on the protesting students. They had heavy rods and many are still on campus.”
8.15 pm: Faculty member Sucharita Sen taken to AIIMS with a head injury.
8.10 pm: A professor, Atul Sood, tells NDTV: “The mob entered hostels and threw huge stones, vandalising property... These weren’t small stones, these were big stones that could have broken our skulls. I saw cars completely vandalised including my car.”
8.07 pm: The students’ union claims that professors who were trying to protect students were also beaten up.
8.04 pm: Students at the university have been protesting against the administration’s decision to hike hostel and mess fees for over a month now. This has led to student protest marches and clashes with the police, as well as vandalism at the hostels. The JNU administration on November 22 defended the fee hike, saying it was facing a fund deficit of Rs 45 crore. However, four days later, a high-level committee constituted by the university administration recommended a 50% reduction in the proposed service and utility charges.
8.02 pm: An MPhil research student tells Scroll.in that the fight took place after alleged members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad began throwing stones at a protest march of students against the recent hostel fee hike proposal.
The violence began near the Periyar hostel of the university as the stone-pelting led to a scuffle, the student says. The fight escalated as some outsiders joined in later, the student says, alleging that the police did not seem to be bothered at all. There was a brief lull after this, but the violence resumed, and some “goons” also entered the women’s hostel, the student adds.
8.01 pm: The JNU Students’ Union tweets that women students have locked themselves up inside the girls’ wing in Sabarmati Hostel. “These attackers are roaming the corridors with rods and sticks,” the union claims. “ABVP terrorists have broken the cars parked outside.”
The JNUSU also alleges that police are helping the ABVP to attack the students, and are asking students to chant Bharat Mata Ki Jai at the North Gate.
8 pm: Former students’ union president N Sai Balaji posts a video of the violence.
7.55 pm: Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh is injured in the violence, ANI reports. The students’ union alleges that “ABVP terrorists” from Delhi University entered the campus “in large numbers with iron rods, and they have been told to single out students’ representatives”. The students’ union claims that police and guards were helping the attackers.
“I have been brutally attacked by goons wearing masks,” Ghosh tells ANI. “I have been bleeding.”