Nirmala Sitharaman, S Jaishankar, JNU Alum condemned attack
NEW DELHI : The situation in New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University continues to be tense as a group of alleged right-wingers gathered outside the main gate of the university campus and yelled slogans like “Bharat mata ki jai” and “Vande Matram”. The street lights on the road have been shut and heavy police presence, with many officers in riot gear, has been recorded.
Violence has reportedly escalated within Jawaharlal Nehru University, with students, including the students’ union president, alleging that they were attacked by members of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad while the police looked on. Reports of stone-pelting were reported from within campus on Saturday as well.
Students said ABVP members were walking through the campus carrying sticks with masks or scarves on their faces, looking for students associated with the fee hike protest. In a video, JNU students’ union president Aishe Ghosh can be seen bleeding from the head, saying that she was “brutally attacked by goons wearing masks”.
Ghosh and other students who injured have been taken to the AIIMS trauma centre. One faculty member, Professor Sucharita Sen, was also reportedly injured in the violence, and others who were trying to protect students also beaten up. The ABVP, meanwhile, has claimed “Left activists” were responsible for the violence and vandalism.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who are graduates of Jawaharlal Nehru University, today condemned the mob attack on students and teachers on campus.
“Have seen pictures of what is happening in #JNU. Condemn the violence unequivocally. This is completely against the tradition and culture of the university,” the Foreign Minister tweeted. He has an MA in Political Science and an MPhil and PhD in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University or JNU.
“Horrifying images from JNU – the place I know & remember was one for fierce debates & opinions but never violence. I unequivocally condemn the events of today. This govt, regardless of what has been said the past few weeks, wants universities to be safe spaces for all students,” Ms Sitharaman tweeted.
The JNU administration says the attackers are still on the campus, vandalising property and attacking people, and the police have been called. The JNUSU has alleged the involvement of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad or ABVP, the student body linked to the BJP, in the attack.
The ABVP has alleged that their members were attacked by leftist students. Later in the evening, the police said they held a flag march in the campus and the situation was “under control”. Home ministry sources said Union Home Minister Amit Shah has spoken to Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik and a report will be submitted to the ministry.
In a message, the JNU administration appealed for calm. “The JNU Administration has called the police to maintain order. Efforts are being made to tackle the miscreants,” read a message from the Registrar. Saket Moon, vice-president of the students’ union, claimed the mob was going from room to room “indiscriminately attacking students”. Through it, security guards remained “mute spectators”, he said.
While,the Congress alleged that the attack on JNU students by masked miscreants on Sunday was “state-sponsored mayhem” and asked whether this was a “revenge by the Modi government” against students and youth.
In a tweet, Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Students beaten up in JNU. Teachers beaten up in JNU. Goons vandalising women’s hotel. Brutality and beatings unleashed. No Police anywhere, No JNU Administration! Is this how Modi Govt seeks revenge against students and youth?”