New Delhi: More than 24 hours after the brutal attack on students and teachers on the Jawarharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus, the Delhi Police made no arrests and the Crime Branch obtained no “vital clues”.
The attack by masked goons triggered protests across India Monday and the clamour grew for the resignation of vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar for his inaction during the violence.
Horrific first-person accounts emerged of the attack on Sunday evening, including a brutal assault on JNU student union president Aishe Ghosh. A mob of masked young people stormed the campus in south Delhi and systematically targeted students in three hostels, unleashing mayhem with sticks, stones and iron rods, hitting inmates and breaking windows, furniture and personal belongings. They also attacked a women's hostel.
“I was specifically targeted during a peace march on campus. Around 20-25 masked persons disrupted the march and attacked me with iron rods,” Ghosh told PTI after being released from hospital earlier Monday. She received 15 stitches on the head, and her arm was in a cast after the attack.
The Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) said its members were in fact attackd too but presented no one to the media.
“For the last four-five days, some RSS-affiliated professors were promoting violence to break our movement," Ghosh alleged at a press conference later.
Also Monday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah talked to Delhi Lt Gov Anil Baijal and the HRD ministry to take stock of the volatile situation.
As videos of the attack were circulated on social media and news channels, ongoing protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) segued into demonstrations against the JNU attack.
The 34 people injured in the attack, including students and faculty members, who were admitted to the AIIMS trauma centre were discharged on Monday morning, officials said.
Large protests took place Monday in universities in Pondicherry to Chandigarh and Aligarh to Kolkata. Protests were also held at the National Law University in Bangalore and IIT-Bombay as well as at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
In Mumbai, a protest by students at Gateway of India that started at midnight Sunday continued.
In Nepal , JNU alumni gathered at Maitighar Mandala in Kathmandu to voice their protest, as did students at Oxford University and University of Sussex in Britain and at Columbia University in the US.
Bollywood spoke up too. "Horrifying", "heartbreaking" and "barbaric" was how many in the film industry, including Anil Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Rajkummar Rao, Anurag Kashyap and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, described the attack.
The JNU campus resembled a battle zone with shattered windowpanes and shards of glass testimonies of the violence the night before.
As students began clearing the debris, hundreds of security personnel swarmed the campus--and outside it too--keeping a watchful eye on crowds. Many students packed their bags and left for home.
A Kashmiri student, requesting anonymity, said he was chased by the mob and had to jump from the first floor to escape.
“We were three-four friends inside a room. Suddenly, some of our friends came running and said, 'The ABVP is coming with lathis and rods'. We latched the room but they started banging on the door with lathis. They also broke the glass windows at top of the door. Scared, we opened the balcony door and jumped from the first floor. Otherwise they would have killed us," the student said.
Surya Prakash, a visually challenged student, was beaten too.
"They came to my room and beat with me rods. I told them I am blind but they continued the assault. I have been hit badly and I will have to go for an X-ray. I'm scared," he said.
Questions remained unanswered.
How was the armed mob allowed to enter the campus? Why was it taking so long for police to make an arrest?
Shreya Ghosh asked how armed goons could enter the campus and said, "The attack could not have happened without the connivance of the administration and police."
The Home minister spoke to Delhi LG Anil Baijal and requested him to call representatives from JNU for discussions, officials said. However, Shah did not mention JNU when he addressed a gathering here later in the day.
The HRD Ministry, on its part, met officials from the JNU administration and took stock of the situation on the campus but vice-chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar 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" in the university.
"The violence that happened is the result of the desperation and frustration of the VC and his cronies,” JNUSU said....