JNU becomes rallying cry for pan-India student protests
New Delhi: The attack on students and teachers at the Jawarharlal Nehru University by unidentified goons triggered protests across India on Monday as the clamour grew for the resignation of the vice chancellor who is being blamed for inaction during the violence that left 34 people injured.
From Pondicherry University to Oxford University in London, anger over the violence in JNU resonated in varsities across the country and even abroad as students protested against the attack on students and faculty members by an armed masked mob.
In India, protests took place at Pondicherry University, Bangalore University, University of Hyderabad, Aligarh Muslim University, University of Mumbai, Delhi University, Ambedkar University, Banaras Hindu University, Chandigarh University, National Law University in Bengaluru, Savitri Bai Phule University in Pune, TISS Mumbai, Jadavpur University, Presidency University, Kolkata and IIT Bombay.
Students staged peaceful marches to register their protest against the violence on the JNU campus with hashtag "SOSJNU" trending on social media.
"Today it is them, tomorrow it can be us. Violence in any form is condemnable. We stand by our friends in JNU," Raiza, a Pondicherry University student said.
Students at Oxford university, Columbia University and University of Sussex also staged silent marches holding posters demanding safety of students on campus.
In Nepal, JNU alumni gathered at Maitighar Mandala in Kathmandu to protest against the violence on campus.
In Mumbai, the protest by students at the Gateway of India that started at midnight continued with more people flocking at the iconic monument to express solidarity with students. Maharashtra minister Jitendra Awhad of NCP joined the students at the protest and sat with them to discuss their demands.
"When people begin to fear intellect, there is anarchy," the minister told reporters as students shouted slogans condemning the violence.
Students of the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune also staged a demonstration outside the FTII gate, holding banners with messages like - 'FTIIstands with JNU, condemns the violence of ABVP Goons'.
A day after the violence in JNU, some students at Panjab University disrupted the address of Haryana Speaker Gian Chand Gupta. Carrying banners, the students belonging to some Left-leaning student bodies, shouted slogans against the BJP, RSS and the ABVP when the Haryana speaker was addressing during a seminar.
Students' unions of the Jadavpur University affiliated to the AISA and the SFI are slated to march towards the ABVP state office in Maniktala area of Kolkata on Monday while students of the Presidency University would also take out a procession from their campus.
As horrific first-person accounts emerged of the attack on Sunday evening, including on JNU students union president Aishe Ghosh, Delhi Police said no arrests have been made and that they have transferred the case to the Crime Branch, who claimed to have found "vital clues."
Politicians of all parties condemned the violence. The opposition and JNU students blamed the ABVP, the students' wing of the BJP for the violence, and accused the Delhi Police of inaction. The BJP said campuses should not become political battleground.
On Sunday, a mob of masked young people stormed the JNU campus in south Delhi and systematically targeted students in three hostels, unleashing mayhem with sticks, stones and iron rods, hitting inmates and breaking windows, furniture and personal belongings. They also attacked a women's hostel.
Also Monday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah talked to Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal and the HRD ministry to take stock of the volatile situation.
With no face to Sunday night's terror, videos of which did endless rounds of social media and news channels, the tide of anger showed no signs of ebbing.