The Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union on Monday sought the removal of Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar and accused him of being behind the violence unleashed in the university on Sunday, Hindustan Times reported. The administration had in a statement on Saturday condemned “any form of violence in the campus”.
A mob of around 50 to 60 masked men and women, holding sticks and rods entered hostel buildings, assaulted students and vandalised the campus. Over 30 people from the university were injured and were admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. They were discharged on Monday morning, AIIMS Trauma Centre Chief Dr Rajesh Malhotra told ANI. A few students were reportedly admitted to the Safdarjung Hospital but there is no clarity on the exact number. Among those injured were the president of the students’ union Aishe Ghosh and faculty member Sucharita Sen.
“Mr Mamidala Jagadesh Kumar, it is time to go!” Monday’s statement from the university’s students’ union said. “The JNU community has a single point demand. That either this V-C resign or the MHRD [Ministry of Human Resource Development] as the competent authority remove him! M Jagadesh Kumar is behaving like a mobster who perpetuates violence in the university he is supposed to administer.”
The statement said that people trying to harm the university will not succeed. The students accused Kumar of instigating violence against the students and staff of the university at the hands of “criminals imported from outside using iron rods, stones and lathis”.
Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind for the third time on Monday, about the “urgent need for the removal of professor M Jagadesh Kumar from his position as the vice chancellor”. “Yesterday’s unprecedented events at the University have served to highlight once again the extremely grave consequences of delay in heeding to our appeal,” the letter read.
Following the violence in JNU, the university administration in a statement warned those trying to “disrupt peaceful academic atmosphere of campus will not be spared.” “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 activities,” it read. “The JNU administration stands by every student who wants to continue their academic programs peacefully in the campus.”
The administration also claimed that 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.
Meanwhile, Delhi Police Public Relations Officer MS Randhawa conducted a meeting with a delegation of students and teachers over the violence. The group consisted of students and teachers from JNU, Jamia Millia Islamia University, and Delhi University.
An application with four demands, including immediate medical aid to the injured, and arrest of the accused, was submitted to the police, according to PTI. “The police have assured us that they will look into the matter and our demands,” said Federation of Central University Teachers’ Associations President Rajib Ray.
The students also demanded that the police leave the university campus as a massive deployment of security personnel were put in place on Monday. Only students with a valid identity card were reportedly being allowed to step inside the campus.