Union Minister of External Affairs S Jaishankar on Monday said there was no “tukde tukde gang” at Jawaharlal Nehru University when he was a student there, PTI reported. Jaishankar made the comment at a book launch in New Delhi, a day after a masked mob attacked the university’s students and teachers, injuring at least 34.
“I can certainly tell you that when I studied in JNU, we did not see any ‘tukde tukde’ gang there,” Jaishankar said. Bharatiya Janata Party leaders often label their opponents and dissidents members of a “tukde tukde” gang, or a group of people trying to divide India. The BJP started using the phrase after anti-government protests at JNU in 2016.
A mob – allegedly comprising members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, the student wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, and armed with sticks and hammers – viciously attacked students and faculty members on the JNU campus on Sunday evening. The wounded were admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
Hours after it started, Jaishankar condemned the attack. “Have seen pictures of what is happening in JNU,” he tweeted. “Condemn the violence unequivocally. This is completely against the tradition and culture of the university.”
This was followed by a statement from Union Minister of Finance Nirmala Sitharaman. “Regardless of what has been said the past few weeks, the government wants universities to be safe spaces for all students,” she said.
However, their Cabinet colleagues have tried to pin the blame on Leftist students and Opposition parties. On Monday, Minister of Human Resource Development Ramesh Pokhriyal said educational institutions cannot be allowed to become “political dens”, and vowed to take strong action against those who perpetrated the violence. Pokhriyal also accused Opposition parties of trying to turn universities into hotbeds of politics. Union minister Prakash Javadekar said Home Minister Amit Shah had announced an investigation into the attack. “Investigation should be done properly,” he added. “It should be seen who was creating problems for last 3 days. Yesterday, people came from outside. Police will do its job well.”
The investigation has been transferred to the Delhi Police Crime Branch. Delhi Police Public Relations Officer MS Randhawa said a fact-finding committee under the joint commissioner of police would look into the matter. “We have found some vital clues and we are trying that the case is solved soon,” he added.
The JNU Students’ Union has blamed the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad for the violence. Scroll.in traced WhatsApp messages planning the attack to ABVP activists. Late on Sunday, protests broke out in many cities across India, and are still on.