Protests break out pan-India against attack on JNU students, faculty

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on January 06, 2020

ABVP students with hands in cast join a protest demonstration against the Sunday attack near the JNU main gate on Monday   -  Kamal Narang

Students’ union, teaching staff accuse RSS-backed ABVP of engineering assault

Countrywide protests broke out on Monday following violent attacks on unarmed students and faculty members in JNU on Sunday evening. Professors and students, who were victims and eyewitnesses of the attack, accused the RSS-backed ABVP of engineering the attack which followed night-long protests and outrage in multiple cities across the country.

Students and political activists from opposition parties hit the streets demanding a judicial probe and strict punishment to the culprits. Trade unions, cultural activists, film stars, academics and people from various walks of life, too, pledged their support to the students. About 30 students and three faculty members were brought to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences on Sunday night and some among them are yet to be discharged from the hospital.

First person accounts

Students shared details of horrific violence unleashed on them on Sunday. “For the last few days, the ABVP have been systematically trying to disrupt the peaceful atmosphere inside the campus. Our non-cooperation movement against JNU administration against the arbitrary fee hike was peaceful and democratic. We had boycotted the registration as the the latest phase of this movement. On Sunday, ABVP activists started attacking students and teachers gathered near Sabarmati hostel in solidarity with the peace meeting organised by JNU Teachers Association. A group of masked goons rushed into the meeting with iron rods and it followed pelting of stones,” said PK Arun, a post-graduate student.

Ashique Ali T, an M.Phil student, said, “JNUSU President Aishe Ghosh was heavily bleeding with a deep wound on her head. She was taken in an ambulance for medical care. But within few minutes, a group of masked goons gathered near Sabarmati hostel and rushed towards the students. They created a riot-like situation and they are activists of the ABVP.”

Sayam Siddha, another PG student, said when students came out together to protest the attacks, ABVP activists started attacking them by pelting stones and beating them with iron rods. She said the miscreants even stormed to the girls’ wing of the hostel. “We could not even defend ourselves as they came prepared with weapons. We were helpless. They went inside the girls’ wing of the hostel. They were particularly looking for Kashmiri students. Later, we gathered ourselves and gave each other moral support by coming together again in a united manner,” she said.

Removal of V-C sought

JNUTA, in a letter to the President Ramnath Kovind, said that there is an urgent need for the removal of M Jagadesh Kumar from his position as the Vice-Chancellor of the University. “Many students, including the JNUSU President, suffered severe injuries. A meeting organised by the JNU Teachers’ Association urging for peace and democracy in the campus was also attacked by the mob with stone pelting and a brutal assault, in which several teachers were injured, some of them suffering head injuries. Subsequently, the New Transit House (NTH) Teachers Quarters were targeted and the families of teachers living there were terrorised as their doors and windows were smashed and they were subjected to threats and abuses. The mob even managed to enter some of the houses in the NTH complex. Even as all this was happening, the Delhi Police which was already present inside the campus did nothing and later justified it by saying they had not till then been given permission to enter the campus,” said JNUTA secretary and Economics professor Surajit Mazumdar in the letter.

Published on January 06, 2020

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