Dozens of masked men armed with sticks and stones stormed Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Sunday evening and went about attacking teachers, students and vandalizing hostels, leaving many wounded.
The JNU administration, which called in the police soon after the attack, told students to keep calm and cooperate with police. “This is an urgent message for the entire JNU Community that there is a law and order situation in the JNU Campus. Masked miscreants armed with sticks are roaming around, damaging property and attacking people,” the JNU administration said in a statement.
JNU Students Union president Aishe Ghosh, who was injured in the violence and left bleeding from the head, was taken to hospital. She said she was “brutally beaten up” by “goons wearing masks”. Masked men in black robes were seen in video footage attacking Sabarmati, one of the students’ hostels. Over two dozen students, and Sucharita Sen, a professor were injured in the violence.
JNU professor Atul Sood said stones that were large enough to smash skulls were thrown at students and teachers by the intruders. “These were not small stones, these were big stones that could have broken our skulls. I fell on the side and when I came out, I saw cars completely vandalized, including my car,” Sood told TV news channels.
Though the exact number of miscreants roaming JNU’s south Delhi campus was not known, some students claimed that their numbers could be as large as 50. Soon after the attack, violence broke out between two groups of students, both blaming the other for the attack by the masked men.
While the Left-dominated JNU Students Union blamed the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the students union of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for orchestrating the attack, ABVP said the assailants were Left-affiliated students.
Even as the attack raged inside the campus and police was trying to control the situation, a crowd gathered outside the JNU gates chanting patriotic slogans near riot police.
Foreign minister S. Jaishankar, an alumnus of JNU tweeted, “Have seen pictures of what is happening in #JNU. Condemn the violence unequivocally. This is completely against the tradition and culture of the university.”
Delhi Lt Governor termed “the violence in JNU against students and teachers is highly condemnable” and directed the police “to take all possible steps in coordination with JNU Administration to maintain law and order & take action against the perpetrators of violence. The situation is being closely monitored”.
“Have seen pictures of what is happening in #JNU. Condemn the violence unequivocally. This is completely against the tradition and culture of the university,” foreign minister S Jaishankar, an alumnus of JNU said in a Twitter post.
Have seen pictures of what is happening in #JNU. Condemn the violence unequivocally. This is completely against the tradition and culture of the university.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) January 5, 2020
A strike is on for more than 45 days inside the JNU campus by a segment of students against the proposed fee hike and some restrictions on their movement inside the campus.