JNU Violence Latest Updates: The vice chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University finally gave a press statement almost two days after violence was unleashed in the varsity campus. However, the bulk of his statement was dedicated to informing students that hostel registration process under the contentious revised rules is underway. 

The four-member fact-finding committee constituted by the Congress following the violence reported at JNU on Sunday, will meet interim party chief Sonia Gandhi at 4.30 pm. The committee is also likely to start meeting students and those impacted by the incident.

Pinky Chaudhary, belonging to the Hindu Raksha Dal, told ANI that the right-wing outfit was behind the attack in JNU and that the masked attackers were the organisation’s workers. “JNU is a hotbed of anti-national activities and we can’t tolerate this,” he said. Government sources told PTI that the police is looking into the Hindu Raksha Dal’s claims.

People protesting against the JNU violence were evicted from Gateway of India in south Mumbai on Tuesday morning as roads were getting blocked and tourists and common people were facing problems, a police official said. Meanwhile, protesters claimed they were held at Azad Maidan and were only allowed to leave after declaring that no protests will be held at Gateway of India.

After a night-long peaceful protests at Gateway of India in Mumbai, protesters were forcefully moved from the area by the Mumbai Police. News reports said that the police had denied permission to continue protest at the historic site.

A day after mayhem broke out at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in Delhi, a political blame game ensued between the BJP and Opposition as large-scale protests against the incident were seen in parts of the country, including Mumbai and Chandigarh.

The Delhi Police, which was accused of not doing enough to stop the violence, on Monday claimed it acted professionally and brought the situation under control. It further said the case had been transferred to the Crime Branch, which has found vital clues and is working on it. Thus far, no arrests have been made.

The Jawaharlal Nehru University Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) has demanded the removal of Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar.  The HRD Ministry, on its part, met officials from the JNU administration and took stock of the situation on the campus but the vice-chancellor skipped the meeting.

“A detailed report has been sent to the HRD Ministry about the sequence of events,” Kumar told PTI. The clamour for Kumar’s resignation grew louder with the students’ union and the JNU Teachers Association accusing him of behaving like a “mobster” and of “perpetrating violence”.

Uneasy calm at ground zero

There was an uneasy calm on the JNU campus, where there was a massive deployment of security personnel and authorities only allowed in students with valid ID cards. However, these measures did not assuage the concerns of students over their safety.

Shreya Ghosh, a resident of Shipra Hostel, asked how goons entered the campus with rods and sticks and said, “The attack could not have happened without the connivance of the administration and police.” She claimed that she had to hide in Sabaramati Hostel after the masked men chased her and others.

Akarsh Ranjan from Periyar hostel said students were threatened into staying into their rooms. According to other residents of Periyar hostel, a group of masked people entered around 4.30 pm and banged on doors, forcing many students to flee from back door exits.

Some mediapersons tweeted videos of ABVP members, allegedly responsible for the violence against JNU students on Sunday night, also gathered at the varsity’s main gate as people protested the incident in Delhi and across the country.

Meanwhile, JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh said she was hit with multiple rods during Sunday’s “organised” attack on the campus, but every iron rod used against students will be answered to by debate and discussion and the university’s culture will never be eroded.

Ghosh, who was earlier admitted to a hospital after sustaining injuries in the attack, demanded the resignation of the vice-chancellor, alleging he had not bothered to meet or check upon the injured students and professors. She claimed that the university security staff colluded with vandals during the attack and added that some “RSS-affiliated professors” had been promoting violence for the past four or five days.

Ghosh, who was discharged on Monday, attended a press conference convened by the students’ union amid cries of ‘Lal Salaam’ and ‘Red Salute’. “It was an organised attack. They were singling out people and attacking,” she told reporters. Firstpost reported that it appears, as per several accounts of students on campus, that the attack was coordinated on WhatsApp groups, many of them tied to the ABVP.

Political war of words

Possibly the most striking condemnation of the violence at the university came from the BJP’s former ally Shiv Sena. The party’s president and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray likened the incident to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack. Calling it an act of cowardice, he asked why the attackers wore masks. He demanded an investigation to find out who these masked attackers were.

Asserting that such incidents will not be tolerated in Maharashtra, he said that there is an atmosphere of fear among the students in the country. “We all need to come together and instill confidence in them,” Thackeray said.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee termed the attack on students and teachers at JNU as a “fascist surgical strike” by the BJP, evoking sharp reactions from the saffron party, which said she should stop shedding “crocodile tears”. Banerjee, who is also the TMC supremo, said she had begun her political career as a student leader but never before witnessed such “brazen attack” on educational institutes.

“Whatever is happening across the country is very disturbing… I, too, was involved in student politics at one point in time, but never have I witnessed this sort of an attack on students and educational institutions.”

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh, urging the Central and Delhi governments to stop indulging in blame game over the incident, sought strict action against perpetrators of violence irrespective of their party links. Singh sought the action saying the spate of violence in various university campuses recently has marred India’s image internationally and has caused “irrevocable damage” to the country’s education system.

“The Centre and Delhi government should stop blame games over the attack on JNU students and ensure urgent restoration of law and order in the premier university of the country,” he said in a statement.

Protests across country

At Mumbai’s Gateway of India, a protest began on Sunday midnight, when a group of students held a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with the JNU students.

Hundreds, including students, women and senior citizens demanded action and called for Union home minister Amit Shah’s resignation.

Nadeem Ghauri, a teacher from Mahim, said, “We will sit till our colleagues are here. People from different castes and religions are present here, most of them are students, many protesters are from out of Mumbai.”

Maharashtra minister Jitendra Awhad briefly joined the protest. “When people fear intellect, there is anarchy,” the NCP minister told reporters. A poster with the message “Free Kashmir” was carried by one of the protesters at the site.

Meanwhile, the ABVP also held a protest a short distance away — at Hutatma Chowk — against the violence, which it blamed on Left-affiliated student bodies.

At the Panjab University in Chandigarh, some students shouted slogans during a seminar to protest the violence at JNU. The students shouted slogans when Haryana Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta was speaking a seminar — ‘Women’s Participation in Decision Making’ at the PU campus.

Protesters, including female students, were taken out of the seminar hall by the security personnel.

In Ahmedabad, over 100 college students, activists and citizens held a peaceful protest outside the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) to denounce the violence on the JNU campus in New Delhi.

Students from various prominent institutes, including the IIMA, Cept University, Ahmedabad University, National Institute of Fashion Technology, National Institute of Design and Gujarat Vidyapith took part in the protest by standing in a row on a footpath outside the top business school.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Jan 07, 2020 15:49:01 IST