After attack, students rise in solidarity with JNU
Students on Monday staged protests on campuses across the country against the violence in New Delhi’s premier Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Sunday night that left at least 30 people injured and provoked outrage. No incident of violence was reported during the protests.
In Uttar Pradesh, hundreds of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students took out a Tiranga, or tricolour march, on the university campus in solidarity with JNU. Members of the AMU Teachers Association also joined the march to condemn the violence on the JNU campus, where masked assailants attacked students with sticks and rods.
Former AMU Students’ Union vice-president Hamza Sufiyan blamed the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students’ wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), for the attack on JNU students. “They must be booked. The government is booking people for protesting... it must lodge cases against the people who have gone inside a university campus and beaten up students and vandalised the premises,” he said.
The ABVP held counter rallies on several campuses and blamed Leftist students for the violence in JNU. It claimed that the ABVP activists were also targeted.
Protests were also reported from the Banaras Hindu University and the Allahabad University, the two other central universities in Uttar Pradesh.
Lucknow University vice chancellor AK Rai said there was “no law and order problem” on the varsity campus even as he refused to comment on the mob attack on the JNU campus.
Students from West Bengal’s Jadavpur University (JU) and the Presidency University (PU) belonging to the Left-wing organisations and ruling Trinamool Congress took out a torch rally and blocked a road in Kolkata soon after the mob attack on Sunday night. A protest was staged outside the PU on Monday.
“Let the ABVP stoop as low as it can but it would not be able to defeat us. All the ABVP members are goons. They earlier proved it in the JU and now at the JNU. Students will put up a united fight against these fascist hooligans,” said Debraj Debnath, a Students’ Federation of India (SFI) leader from the Jadavpur University.
SFI is the students’ wing of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Rabindra Bharati University vice-chancellor Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury called the attack on the JNU campus dreadful. “I know no words to condemn this repugnant act. This is unimaginable in a civilised country. How could masked outsiders enter the girls’ hostel and what were the security staff doing?” Chaudhury asked. The JU and Calcutta University teachers associations issued separate statements condemning the attack.
In Guwahati, students of the Gauhati University, the Cotton University, and other institutes gathered at the city’s Nehru Park for a protest rally. “The police remained mute spectators to the violence. It seems the goons had indirect support from the government. We fear such incidents could get repeated in other universities,” said Moon Talukdar, the general secretary of the Post-graduate Students’ Union of the Gauhati University.
“The attack on JNU students and teachers was perpetrated by those in power in Delhi with the intention of curbing protests there. It could be an attempt to give a different direction to the protests happening elsewhere with regards to the National Register of Citizens and the Citizenship (Amendment) Act,” said Pranjal Kalita, former general secretary of the Cotton University Students Union. In Tripura, the Left-wing student bodies held protests at separate places.
In Kerala, the functioning of many educational institutions was disrupted due to the SFI’s strike call in protest against the mob attack. The SFI has asked students to boycott classes to protest against “saffron goon” attacks on the premier university. In Bihar, the Patna University Students’ Union president Manish Kumar led a sit-in on campus soon after midnight. “The violence against the JNU students and teachers is shameful. The RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] is behind it and the organisation needs to be banned,” Kumar said.
Patna University vice-chancellor Rash Bihari Prasad Singh said that the situation was under control. “We are keeping a close watch. So far, there has been no untoward incident reported from anywhere,” he said.
Protests were held in all major educational institutes in Bengaluru, including the Indian Institute of Science and the Bangalore University. Nawaz Mohammed Khan, a student at Bengaluru’s RC College, said they gathered on Sunday night for a protest and some of them were detained briefly. Another RC College student, Elizabeth David, said, “Our protests would continue till action is taken against ABVP.”
Protests were also reported from university campuses in Raipur, Chandigarh, Ranchi, Goa, Gwalior, and Chennai.
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