Violence broke out at Jawaharlal Nehru University as masked men armed with sticks and rods attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus, prompting the administration to call in police which conducted a flag march.
At least 28 people, including JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh, were injured as chaos reigned on the campus for nearly two hours.
Eyewitnesses alleged the attackers entered the premises when a meeting was being held by JNU Teachers’ Association on the issue of violence on campus and assaulted students and professors.
They also barged into three hostels.
Video footage aired by some TV channels showed a group of men, who were brandishing hockey sticks and rods, moving around a building.
The Left-controlled Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh-backed Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad blamed each other for the incident.
Union human resource development minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank condemned the violence and appealed for peace on the campus.
#JNU में हुई हिंसा अत्यंत चिंताजनक और दुर्भाग्यपूर्ण है । मैं परिसर के भीतर हुई हिंसा की निंदा करता हूं । मैं सभी विद्यार्थियों से विश्व विद्यालय की गरिमा और परिसर में शांति बनाए रखने की अपील करता हूं ।
— Dr Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (@DrRPNishank) January 5, 2020
A ministry official said anarchy will not be tolerated and a report has been sought from JNU administration on the incident.
Union ministers and JNU alumni External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman too condemned the violence. Both expressed shock on their twitter handles respectively.
Horrifying images from JNU — the place I know & remember was one for fierce debates & opinions but never violence. I unequivocally condemn the events of today. This govt, regardless of what has been said the past few weeks, wants universities to be safe spaces for all students.
— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) January 5, 2020
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
The opposition slammed the government on the JNU violence. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted
The brutal attack on JNU students & teachers by masked thugs, that has left many seriously injured, is shocking.
The fascists in control of our nation, are afraid of the voices of our brave students. Today’s violence in JNU is a reflection of that fear.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 5, 2020