Protests broke out in several parts of India late on Sunday night condemning the violence against students and faculty at Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi. A mob of around 50 to 60 masked men and women, holding sticks and rods entered hostel buildings, and allegedly assaulted students and vandalised the campus.
At least 23 people from the university were injured and were admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and Safdarjung Hospital. 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. ABVP is the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological parent of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. However, the ABVP accused the “Naxals” or left-wing extremists for the episode.
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.
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At least 100 protestors, mainly students, on Sunday night gathered on the pavement across Hotel Taj at Colaba in Maharashtra’s capital Mumbai, The Times of India reported. Former JNU student Umar Khalid and stand-up comic Kunal Kamra were part of the protest.
Those assembled said they were not willing to speak to the media. “We have assembled for a silent protest, to show solidarity with students in Delhi,” said one of the protestors. A few of them held up candles while others switched on torches in what was described as an “impromptu assembly at short notice”.
Early on Monday, students from several colleges continued their demonstration outside Gateway of India against the violence in JNU, ANI reported.
Visuals shared on social media showed students of Indian Institute of Technology Bombay holding up banners and posters in solidarity with JNU. “RSS down down” and “IIT-B stands with JNU” read some of the posters. Students from the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune also held a protest against the violence on Sunday night.
Jamia, AMU students protest
Students at Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh also protested against the violence in JNU. Sunday’s violence in JNU came nearly a month after the Delhi Police allegedly fired tear gas and baton-charged students inside the Jamia and AMU campuses after protests were staged against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act. The police action had sparked protests at more than 60 universities and colleges across India.
While AMU students took out a candlelight march to show solidarity with their JNU counterparts, Jamia students protested out the Delhi Police headquarters, and called for action against the assailants.
Jamia Teachers Association also condemned the violence by who they said were “armed goons”. “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,” the statement said, according to NDTV. “It is sad to know that JNU was sealed even as goons ransacked the campus with an intention to kill students and teachers.”
Students of the National Law University in Bengaluru conducted a silent protest at the university campus late on Sunday. Protestors lit candles to show their support for the JNU students and faculty. Protests are likely to be held on Monday at the city’s Town Hall at 4 pm.
Students of Kolkata’s Jadavpur University began their protest late on Monday. Slogans and chants against the violence perpetrated against students and faculty of JNU were heard in visuals shared on social media.
Around 200 members of the Students Federation of India at the University of Hyderabad assembled for a protest. “We condemn this violence by ABVP and its supporters,” Students’ Union President Abhishek Nandan told The News Minute. Protestors gathered in solidarity for JNU in Chhattisgarh’s Raipur city.
In Kerala, members of the SFI’s state unit marched till the Accountant General’s Office in Thiruvananthapuram. “From the beginning, the [Narendra] Modi government from the beginning has been trying to destroy educational institutions in our country,” said VA Vineesh, the SFI state president. “They are saffronising and capitalising the education sector. But we won’t bend to this, we will ideologically oppose their attempt to destroy us with weapons.”