Activists and Opposition leaders on Tuesday slammed the Delhi Police for booking Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Students’ Union President Aishee Ghosh for vandalism, as several student organisations announced their support to Wednesday’s daylong strike by central trade unions.
Leaders and activists also questioned the police’s failure to identify and arrest any of the masked goons that attacked students and teachers inside the university campus on Sunday night.
The Delhi Police issued a public appeal seeking pictures, footage or any information related to Sunday’s violence inside the JNU campus that left 34 people injured even as forensic teams looked for evidence.
Ghosh had suffered injuries in the Sunday attack. However, the police claim she was involved in violence before outsiders entered the campus.
A fringe right-wing group, the Hindu Raksha Dal, has purportedly taken the responsibility for the attack in a video posted on social media.
Amid demands that he either resign or face the sack, JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar urged students to put the past behind and return to the varsity’s premises. “Our heart goes out to all injured students. The incident (violence) is unfortunate. I would like to tell students that JNU campus is a secure place,” he said in a statement.
Opposition parties, particularly the Communist Party of India (Marxist), questioned the silence of Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi over the attack. Several JNU alumni took out a protest march in the evening. Actress Deepika Padukone was the latest to join several other Hindi film industry icons to support the protests. “I feel proud to see that we aren’t scared to express ourselves... I think the fact that we are thinking about the country and its future... Whatever may be our point of view, it’s nice to see,” Padukone said. Opposition parties and students’ organisations have said they support the strike, and will make common cause with the trade unions not just on economic issues, but against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).
The North East Students’ Organisation and the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) on Tuesday demanded scrapping of the CAA, saying they cannot allow “illegal Bangladeshis” to flood the region and rule over indigenous people. Addressing a press conference in the national capital, NESO and AASU said their protests will continue during the PM’s scheduled visit to Assam later this month.
Protests against the CAA, the NRC and the attack on JNU students continued in the national capital and across the country. In Ahmedabad, the National Students Union of India (NSUI), the students’ wing of the Congress, released video clippings which it alleged showed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) students beating up NSUI activists during an anti-CAA protest. ABVP is affiliated to the RSS.
While Kerala and West Bengal have issued orders to not carry out the National Population Register (NPR), the Odisha government has initiated the process to update it with the launch of a pilot survey, an official said. In line with “instructions of the Registrar General of India, the NPR exercise has begun. A pilot survey has been carried out in parts of the state, while door-to-door survey and house-listing will be taken up mid-April,” the official told PTI.
The Congress and other Opposition parties have opposed the NPR. Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said on Monday that the current NPR questionnaire was different from the one used in 2010.
Explaining the format, the Odisha official said the number of fields on the registration form has been increased and several questions rephrased. Unlike 2010, when the NPR was last updated, every applicant, this time, would have to furnish Aadhaar number, mobile number, voter ID and driving licence.
In New Delhi, politics has heated up as the Assembly polls, slated for February 8, draw near. Delhi BJP chief Manoj Tiwari on Tuesday said illegal immigrants cannot be allowed to hold protests against the CAA. The ruling Aam Aadmi Party has steered clear of the controversy over the CAA and focused its campaign on the performance of its government in the last five years.