20 hurt as masked men attack Indian JNU students, teachers
Violence rocked prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University campus in New Delhi of India last night as masked men armed with sticks attacked students and teachers leaving 20 people injured and damaged property, prompting the administration to call in the police.
The incident at JNU triggered a fresh tide of students protests in at least four places across India including Aligarh Muslim University, Mumbai, Jadavpur and Hyderabad Universities.
JNU Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh, were injured as chaos reigned on the campus for nearly two hours.
They were admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), reports our New Delhi correspondent.
The Left-controlled JNU Students' Union President Aishe Ghosh suffered a head injury, the correspondent said.
The JNUSU and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad linked to the RSS blamed each other for the violence that continued in the JNU campus for nearly two hours.
Several disturbing videos that show masked people carrying sticks and bats have gone viral on social media.
The JNUSU students' union vice-president Saket Moon said "the police have been in the campus since afternoon, but they have done nothing".
The JNU Registrar said in a statement that Sunday night's incident was linked to the agitation over a fee hike. Students opposing the hike wanted to disrupt the admissions process and there had been clashes and vandalism on Friday and Saturday.
Meanwhile, Massive deployment of security personnel today remained in place at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, a night after it was rocked by violence.
JNU authorities today allowed only students with valid ID cards inside the campus.
According to sources, security was deployed outside the hostels, administration block and other important locations in the campus in South Delhi. The entry of outsiders including media was restricted, the sources said.
On Sunday, students against the start of the registration process beat up those in favour of it before the police could reach, the Registrar said.
The ABVP alleged their members were "brutally attacked by students affiliated to Leftist student organizations SFI, AISA and DSF". "Around 25 students have been seriously injured in this attack and there is no information as to the whereabouts of 11 students. Many ABVP members are being attacked in hostels and the hostels are being vandalized by the leftist goons," the ABVP tweet read.
Late on Sunday night, senior Delhi Police officer Devendra Arya said the situation in the JNU campus was normal after "we carried out an extensive flag march. The hostel areas have been secured. There is no report of violence."
He said the police had entered the area on a written request from the university authorities.
Sources said Indian Home Minister Amit Shah has asked Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik for a report.
A standoff between the students and the JNU administration has been going on for the last two months over the hike in hostel fees.
Students say the increase has pushed up their monthly expenses three-fold and the Left-affiliated students have been demanding a rollback.
The JNU administration has justified the hike saying room rent has not been revised in 30 years and they are spending Rs 10 crore per year for payment towards electricity, water and service charges.
While students at the Aligarh Muslim University took out a candlelight march in solidarity with the students and faculty members of JNU, students in Hyderabad held an impromptu demonstration. Students of the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune and Jadavpur University in Kolkata also held late night protests.
Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, an alumnus of the university, tweeted: "Have seen pictures of what is happening in #JNU. Condemn the violence unequivocally. This is completely against the tradition and culture of the university."
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said "the fascists in control of our nation, are afraid of the voices of our brave students. Today's violence in JNU is a reflection of that fear."
Rahul's sister and Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra met injured JNU students at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and alleged that it was "deeply sickening" about the government that allowed violence inflicted on students.
Priyanka claimed the wounded students at AIIMS told her that goons entered the campus and attacked them with sticks and other weapons, with many students having broken limbs and head injuries.
The JNU violence sparked a fresh wave of protests days after unrest in the campus over the contentious citizenship law at the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).
A spokesperson of the protesting AMU students said a march was held in the night to express solidarity with the JNU students who were attacked by masked men armed with sticks.
In a statement, the AMU Teachers' Association (AMUTA) condemned the violence. AMUTA secretary Najmul Islam urged the Chief Justice of India to take suo motu cognizance of the "unprecedented situation arising from Sunday's assault on JNU students and teachers".
Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Kulahari said police had been deployed at sensitive points all around the AMU campus as a precautionary measure.
The AMU, which was to reopen on January 6, has already extended the winter break keeping in view the continuing protests against the amended citizenship law.
On December 15, the university had announced an extended winter break following violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) on the campus that left over 60 people, including 40 students, AMU security staff and police personnel injured.
Bollywood actors Swara Bhasker, Shabana Azmi, Mohd Zeeshan Ayyub and Taapsee Pannu and filmmakers Aparna Sen and Hansal Mehta condemned the violence at JNU.