Anger over the mob attack on students and teachers at the Jawaharlal Nehru University spread to several college campuses in India on Monday, as well as to some universities abroad, PTI reported.
A mob, allegedly comprising members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s youth wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, armed with sticks and hammers, attacked students at hostels in JNU on Sunday evening, leading to injures to at least 34 people, including faculty members. The wounded were admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences. They have now been discharged.
Protests took place at Pondicherry University, Bangalore University, University of Hyderabad, Aligarh Muslim University, University of Mumbai, Delhi University, Ambedkar University, Banaras Hindu University, Chandigarh University, National Law University in Bengaluru, Savitribai Phule University in Pune, Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai, Jadavpur University and Presidency University in Kolkata and the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, PTI reported.
Students of the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune also staged a demonstration outside the campus gate. They held signs reading “FTII stands with JNU, condemns the violence of ABVP Goons”.
The protests were peaceful. “Today it is them, tomorrow it can be us,” Raiza, a student of Pondicherry University said. “Violence in any form is condemnable. We stand by our friends in JNU.”
In Mumbai, protestors gathered at the Gateway of India at midnight to condemn the violence at JNU. Some students at Panjab University in Chandigarh disrupted the address of Haryana Speaker Gian Chand Gupta, and shouted slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party, RSS and ABVP.
The All India Students Association and the Students Federation of India organised marches from the Jadavpur University campus in Kolkata to the 8B Bus Stand and shouted slogans against the BJP government at the Centre and against ABVP. They demanded immediate arrests of those involved in the violence.
“The way the ABVP workers had vandalised the campus in September and JNU campus yesterday reflects the fascist mindset of the BJP and the Sangh Parivar,” a Jadavpur University student said. Meanwhile, the Congress students’ wing, Chhatra Parishad, burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah on College Street.
Jawaharlal Nehru University students and teachers formed a human chain outside the college on Monday, ANI reported.
Abroad, there were demonstrations at Maitighar Mandala in Nepal, Oxford University and University of Sussex in the United Kingdom, and University of Columbia in the United States.
Meanwhile, Jammu University students affiliated to the ABVP held “anti-Left” protests in the city on Monday, PTI reported. They blocked roads and demanded an investigation into the violence. Raising slogans against Left parties, the students sat on a dharna on a road leading to the university, causing traffic disruption.
The students were holding the tricolour and posters of BR Ambedkar. “It is a general protest rally here against the violence at JNU campus,” Monika, a student, said. “We want a probe into this violence. we are against this violence and use of students by political parties, particularly by the Left, to create pan-India student unrest.”
The protestors said that students should not allow political parties to use them for their own purposes, and should focus on studies instead.
HRD ministry holds meeting
The Ministry of Human Resource Development met officials from the JNU administration on Monday and took stock of the situation on the campus, PTI reported. However, university Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar skipped the meeting.
“HRD Secretary Amit Khare held a meeting with team of JNU authorities, including Pro-VC Chintamani Mahapatra, Registrar Promod Kumar, Rector Rana Pratap Singh and Proctor Dhananjay Singh, today,” an official of the ministry said. “The secretary held detailed discussion with them and was also briefed about the current situation in JNU.”
The ministry had on Sunday night sought an immediate report from JNU Registrar Pramod Kumar on the events at the campus. Jagadesh Kumar told PTI earlier on Monday that a complete report has been sent to the ministry.
Calls for vice chancellor’s removal grow
Meanwhile, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union sought the removal of Vice Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar, alleging that he was responsible for the violence at the university. The administration had in a statement on Saturday condemned “any form of violence in the campus”.
The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind mentioning the “urgent need for the removal of professor M Jagadesh Kumar from his position as the vice chancellor”.
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) too sought the removal of the vice chancellor. The Aligarh Muslim University Students Coordination Committee demanded that Kumar resign on moral grounds.
Two Union ministers, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar – both alumni of the college – condemned the attack on Sunday night.