New Delhi: Strong support from all quarters across the country poured in for students of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) who were victims of a brutal attack by “masked” goons on Sunday evening. While students across the country held protest marches and took out rallies in support of JNU students, many political leaders and Bollywood stars too rallied behind the injured students, demanding strict action against the perpetrators and the sacking of the JNU Vice Chancellor, M. Jagadesh Kumar.
Around 34 students and teachers from JNU, who were admitted to the AIIMS trauma centre on Sunday night following attacks by masked men in the campus, were discharged early on Monday.
Two senior wardens of JNU hostels — Periyar and Sabarmati — resigned on Monday on “moral grounds” for failing to protect students during the attack, while Shiv Sena leader and Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray stirred the political caldron by equating the attack on JNU students to Mumbai’s 26/11 terror attacks.
Demanding an independent judicial inquiry into the violence, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said, “The horrifying and unprecedented violence unleashed on India’s young by goons with active abetment of the ruling Modi government is deplorable and unacceptable. Every day campuses and colleges are raided across India, either by the police or lumpen elements with support of the BJP government.”
Students of the JNU, that has become a battleground of Left versus Right politics ever since the BJP came to power at the Centre, also received support from several other quarters. “I think any Indian who cares about the nation’s image in the world should worry. This has too many echoes of the years when Germany was moving towards Nazi rule,” said Nobel prize winner and JNU alumnus Abhijit Banerjee.
Pushed on the back foot over allegations that its student wing, the ABVP, had planned and carried out the attack on students, the BJP, and the JNU administration tried to give a spin that the violence was a result of a “clash” between two factions of students and blamed students affiliated to the Left, led by Jawaharlal Nehru University Stud-ents Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh, for it.
Social media evidence blames ABVP
However, throughout the day evidence on social media emerged indicating alleged role of the ABVP with screen-shots of “WhatsApp chats” indicating its hand in the “pre-planned” attack.
According to reports, when media organisations called the telephone numbers on the WhatsApp group, they got vague answers saying the numbers were being misused. However, NDTV claimed some people in the WhatsApp group accepted they were from ABVP and that they had indeed participated in the violence in JNU.
The ABVP on its part has denied its hand in the attack and instead blamed the Left students of violence and accused JNUSU leader of leading the mob of “masked” goons. The JNU administration too has tried to portray the matter as a “clash” between two groups of students, largely blaming the Left JNUSU for the ruckus in the campus.
But Ghosh on Monday categorically accused the ABVP of the murderous attack on her, other students and professors saying among the attackers were a few ABVP students of JNU and some outsiders.
“Yesterday’s attack was an organised attack by goons of RSS and ABVP. Since past four-five days violence was being promoted in the campus by some RSS affiliated professors and ABVP… The answer to every iron rod used against the students will be replied to, through debate and discussion. JNU’s culture will not be eroded... JNU will uphold its democratic culture,” said Ms Ghosh.
Total of 34 people, including Prof. Sucharita Sen and Ms Ghosh, were injured in the attack on JNU students by masked men and women carrying iron rods, hammers and stones. The JNUSU president was hit with rods and hammers leading to roughly 15 stitches on her forehead. She also suffered a fracture in her left hand and other injuries.
Even though minor incidents have been taking place for the last couple of days in the campus where JNUSU is protesting fee hike and preventing allegedly “ABVP-backed” students from registering for the second semester, the shocking mob attack happened around 6.30 pm on Sunday when a “masked” group entered JNU campus from the back gate and left after beating and threatening students for almost 90 minutes according to some accounts. The masked group, which included some girls, also allegedly molested girls....