Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 6
Campuses across India today united behind the JNU community that was at the receiving end last night of an unprecedented mob attack of which no clues were forthcoming today.
Edit: JNU vandalised
Students from several higher educational institutions – Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi University, University of Mumbai, Jadavpur University, Bengal; Pondicherry University, Ambedkar University, Bangalore University, University of Hyderabad, BHU, National Law University Bengaluru, Savitribai Phule University and film institute in Pune, and the Tata Institute of Social Sciences and IIT-Mumbai – rallied behind JNU where 34 students were injured in the violence unleashed by masked armed men and women who ran riot on the campus for over three hours yesterday.
Though the injured students were back home safely after treatment at AIIMS yesterday, the JNU violence triggered anger against the government and university establishment with the JNU Teachers’ Association and the CPM pressing for VC M Jagadesh Kumar’s resignation.
Reports also came in of solidarity marches at Oxford University, Columbia University and the University of Sussex with demonstrators condemning campus violence and seeking accountability. JNU alumni in Kathmandu voiced their support with hashtag SOSJNU trending on Twitter for most part today.
While JNU students seethed from what most described as “utter failure of the VC in securing the campus”, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal threatened action against the perpetrators.
“I have said this earlier. Autonomous institutions can’t be allowed to become political dens. We will take strong action against those involved in the attack,” Pokhriyal said in Bhubaneshwar.
In Delhi, HRD Secretary Amit Khare met JNU authorities including Pro-VC, Chintamani Mahapatra; Registrar Promod Kumar; Rector Rana Pratap Singh and Proctor Dhananjay Singh and sought a briefing on Sunday violence. The ministry has asked JNU for a report.
Importantly, the VC was not part of the high-level meeting today and was allowed to clarify matters via Twitter where he maintained that the origin of the situation lay in agitating students turning violent and obstructing academic activities of others.
The allegation was directed at the Left-led JNU Students Unionclaimed that some academics sympathetic to the RSS and BJP had for a while been working to break the ongoing JNUSU agitation against the hostel fee hike.
The Delhi Crime Branch was yet to make any arrests in the incident but political slugfest continued with Congress president Sonia Gandhi leading the Opposition demand for an independent judicial inquiry into the matter and terming the incident state-sponsored violence.
Former minister P Chidambaram said the issue was the most clinching evidence that India “was rapidly descending into anarchy”. The government, however, remained unfazed in the face of mounting criticism and former HRD Minister Smriti Irani warned varsities against becoming political battlegrounds and students against becoming pawns.
While BSP chief Mayawati sought a judicial probe, TMC chief Mamata Banerjee sent a delegation to Delhi to back JNU students. Some students today did admit that the scuffle began after a section of the JNUSU leaders prevented others from registering for the winter semester.
Varsities Can’t be made into political ‘addas’: HRD minister
“These autonomous institutions cannot be allowed to become political ‘addas’ (dens). Strong action will be initiated against people involved in such an attack.” Ramesh Pokhriyal, HRD Minister
Make police chief accountable: PC
“If the police did not have inputs, their intelligence gathering was pathetic. If they did, it was a failure of responsibility. The Commissioner of Police must be held accountable.” P Chidambaram
Cong forms fact-finding panel
Congress on Monday formed a four-member fact-finding committee to investigate the JNU violence.
Vice chancellor not part of HRD meeting; clarifies on Twitter
The VC was not part of the Monday’s meeting and was allowed to clarify matters via Twitter where he maintained that the origin of the situation lay in students obstructing academic activity.
Haryana Speaker faces protests
Haryana Speaker Gian Chand Gupta on Monday faced outrage on PU campus over JNU violence. As Gupta was speaking at a seminar, protesters raised slogans.
Dealt with situation professionally: Police
New Delhi: The Delhi Police on Monday rejected the charge of reaching Jawaharlal Nehru University late despite several pleas by students’ unions, asserting that they responded to PCR calls and law-and-order situation professionally to control the violence on the campus. PTI
Protest against hike in hostel fee, the trigger?
The JNUSU until Sunday had been protesting for over 80 days against the fee hike and had given calls for boycotting the winter semester registration that began on January 1. JNU V-C says many students did not honour the call, causing agitating students to indulge in scuffles on Sunday.
CM says 106 MLAs backing him, Dy CM contests claim