The Narendra Modi government on Monday came under massive attack from the Opposition, youths, actors, activists and business tycoons over the “horrifying” violence at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the national capital. Amid widespread condemnation for the Sunday bloodbath at the JNU campus and demands for a judicial inquiry and sacking of the vice-chancellor, Union Home Minister Amit Shah accused the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) of “burning the capital in the fire of riots”.
The attack on students and teachers at the JNU by unidentified goons triggered protests across India. The Opposition alleged that the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ arm of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), was behind the violence and accused the Delhi Police, which is under the home ministry, of not intervening in time.
Nearly three dozen students were injured, including JNU students’ union president Aishe Ghosh, in the violence for which the institution’s teachers and students have blamed “outsiders” facilitated by ABVP activists with the Delhi Police standing a mute spectator. Ghosh alleged it was an organised attack.
“We called police for two hours but did not get any help,” JNUSU vice-president Saket Moon said.
However, the Delhi Police said on Monday it responded to PCR calls and handled law and order situation professionally. Delhi Police spokesperson Mandeep Singh Randhawa said the internal security of the JNU lies with the varsity administration. On the probe, he said the crime branch had found some vital clue and were working on it.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi said the “horrifying” violence unleashed on India’s youth by goons was with the active abetment of the ruling Modi government and demanded an independent judicial inquiry into the violence in JNU. Communist Party of India (Marxist) chief Sitaram Yechury demanded the JNU vice-chancellor be sacked.
Rapid Action Force personnel stand guard at India Gate during a torchlight procession against the violence inside the Jawaharlal Nehru University campus | Photo: PTI
The HRD ministry met officials from the JNU administration on Monday and took stock of the situation on the campus, even as vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar skipped the meeting.
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the National Register of Citizens (NRC) was a “sinister and mischievous plan” to divide the country and alleged the NRC-CAA-NPR exercise is part of the RSS-BJP plan to push its “divisive” agenda of a ‘Hindu Rashtra’.
The HRD Ministry met officials from the JNU administration. JNU Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar skipped the meeting. Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank,’ who was in Bhubhaneshwar said educational institutions cannot be allowed to become “political adda” and vowed “strong action” against the perpetrators of the violence at JNU.
“I can certainly tell you that when I studied in JNU, we did not see any ‘tukde tukde’ gang there,” External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday when asked about the situation in the premier university.
Thirty-six people admitted to AIIMS Trauma Centre after the bloodbath at the JNU were discharged on Monday morning, officials at the hospital said.
From Pondicherry University to Oxford University in London, anger over the violence in JNU resonated in varsities across the country and even abroad. In India, 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, Savitri Bai Phule University in Pune, TISS Mumbai, Jadavpur University, Presidency University, Kolkata and IIT Bombay.
Students staged peaceful marches to register their protest against the violence on the JNU campus with hashtag “SOSJNU” trending on social media. “Today it is them, tomorrow it can be us. Violence in any form is condemnable. We stand by our friends in JNU,” Raiza, a Pondicherry University student said.
In Mumbai, the protest by students at the Gateway of India that started at midnight continued with more people flocking at the iconic monument to express solidarity.
Students at Oxford university, Columbia University and University of Sussex also staged silent marches holding posters demanding safety of students on campus. In Nepal, JNU alumni gathered at Maitighar Mandala in Kathmandu to protest against the violence on campus.