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24 injured as masked mob attacks at Delhi's JNU

  • Published at 01:10 pm January 6th, 2020
WEB_JNU protest
Police in riot gear stand guard inside the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) after clashes between students in New Delhi, India, January 5, 2020 Reuters

Hundreds gathered outside the city's police headquarters to protest against the violence

Masked goons, armed with sticks and stones, have barged into Delhi's prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus and beaten up students and teachers, spreading chaos and terror. 

Nineteen students, all from left-backed groups, and five teachers were injured and hospitalized, reports NDTV.

The left students and the ABVP, the student wing linked to the BJP, have accused each other of involvement in the attack on Sunday evening. 

Late in the evening, the JNU authorities called in the police, who held a flag march and declared the situation normal. However, students and staff insisted that the miscreants are still lurking in the campus and that they were not safe. They also accused the university authorities and the police of complicity. 

Sources said Home Minister Amit Shah has asked Delhi Police chief Amulya Patnaik for a report. 

Hundreds, meanwhile, gathered outside the city's police headquarters to protest against the violence.

Eyewitnesses said the 50-odd goons entered the campus around 6.30 pm. The students' union tweeted that the attackers were "unknown ABVP goons" and were even beating up professors trying to protect students. 

JNUSU, the university's student union, Vice President Saket Moon said, "The police have been in the campus since afternoon, but they have done nothing."

Others pointed to the delay in calling in the police and their failure to make any arrests.

"The mob threw huge stones and entered hostels," said a professor, Atul Sood. 

"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 vandalised, including my car," he added.

Fee hike

Condemning the violence, the university said Sunday's incident was linked to the agitation over a fee hike. 

Students opposing the hike wanted to disrupt the admissions process and clashes and vandalism took place on Friday and Saturday. 

On Sunday, the students against the registration process beat up those in favour of it before the police could reach, the registrar said in a statement.

Late in the evening, senior police officer Devendra Arya said the situation in the university was normal. 

"We carried out an extensive flag march. The hostel areas have been secured. There is no report of violence," he said, adding that the police had entered the area on a written request from the university authorities.

The Congress's Priyanka Gandhi Vadra visited AIIMS where the injured students -- all from left-backed groups -- were taken. 

Aishe Ghosh, the JNUSU president who was bleeding heavily when she was taken to hospital, was "singled out and hit on her head by men who entered the university campus with the blessing of the guards, the administration and the police," a tweet from JNUSU reads.

The ABVP said their members were "brutally attacked by students affiliated to leftist student organizations." 

"Around 25 students have been seriously injured in this attack and there is no information as to the whereabouts of 11 students. Many ABVP members are being attacked in hostels and the hostels are being vandalized by the leftist goons," the ABVP tweet read.

Foreign minister Dr S Jaishankar, an alumnus of the university, 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."

For more than two months, a standoff between the students and the administration is on over the hike in hostel fees. Students say the hike has increased their monthly expenses three-fold and the Left-affiliated students have been demanding a rollback. 

The JNU administration has justified the hike, saying room rent has not been revised in 30 years and they are spending Rs10 crore per year for payment towards electricity, water and service charges.