Unidentified masked men on Sunday entered the hostels of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi and beat up students using sticks, iron rods and batons. The clash left more than two dozen students injured and caused severe damage to the varsity premises.
The clash followed a week-long protest by JNU students against the recent fee hike notified by the university administration, with some quarters accusing youth wing members of hardline Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) behind the attack on students.
Condemnations came quickly on social media, with JNU students and young Indians slamming the RSS youth group Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) for the cowardly attack on students.
Condemnations also poured in from leading politicians, including Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Taking to Twitter, Gandhi said the JNU violence showcased a “reflection of fear” that “fascists in control of our nation” had of students. “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,” he said in his Twitter message.
The brutal attack on JNU students & teachers by masked thugs, that has left many seriously injured, is shocking.
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 Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 5, 2020
Delhi Chief Minister Arwind Kejriwal said he was shocked to know of the incident.
“I am so shocked to know abt the violence at JNU. Students attacked brutally. Police shud immediately stop violence and restore peace. How will the country progress if our students will not be safe inside univ campus?” he said in a Twitter message.
Spoke to Hon’ble LG and urged him to direct police to restore order. He has assured that he is closely monitoring the situation and taking all necessary steps https://t.co/gpRGCCbwGF
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) January 5, 2020
Following the attack, students in New Delhi and various other cities across the country protested against the attack by hardline goons.
Students at Aligarh Muslim University – which was also a battleground between police and protesting students last month – staged a candlelight vigil to express solidarity with JNU students.
Protests by students were also reported in Jadavpur University, Kolkata, Mumbai, and Pune.
On Sunday night, students and civil society members gathered outside the Delhi Police headquarters to protest against what they dubbed was a “delayed” response to stop the violence at JNU campus.