Violence broke out at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) on Sunday night as masked men armed with sticks attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus, prompting the administration to call in police which conducted a flag march.
At least 18 people, including JNU Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh, were injured and admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) as chaos reigned on the campus for nearly two hours.
The violence drew strong reactions from opposition parties which hit out at the BJP and accused "those in power" of trying to scuttle the voice of students.
Senior Union ministers and JNU alumni S Jaishankar and Nirmala Sitharaman swiftly condemned the incident. Sitharaman asserted that the government wants universities to be safe spaces for all students.
Home Ministry and HRD Ministry sought reports from Delhi Police and JNU administration, respectively. Home Minister Amit Shah spoke to the Delhi Police chief and enquired about the situation at JNU.
Below are the live updates:
6:55pm: Around hundred IIT Delhi students held a march inside their campus to show solidarity with JNU students and teachers who were attacked by a masked mob on Sunday night. The march ended at JNU Gate, an entrance of IIT nearest to the neighbouring university.
6:40pm: The crime branch of Delhi police is investigating Sunday's violence in JNU and it will seize all relevant materials including footages from social media to probe the matter, said Delhi Police PRO Mandeep Randhawa.
"Normally, police deployment is only in the administration block, and the scuffle took place away from that area. Around 7:45 pm, we were requested by JNU administration, then we entered the University and carried out a flag march," he said.
5:48pm: "JNU is our second home. The RSS cannot take it away from us," said JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh. The JNUSU has also given a call for students' strike on January 8, when trade unions will also hold a nationwide strike against government policies.
5:46pm: "Every iron rod used against the students will be given back by democratic debate and discussion. JNU's culture will not be eroded anytime soon. JNU will uphold its democratic culture," said JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh at a press conference.
"Yesterday's attack was an organised attack by goons of RSS and ABVP," she added.
5:34pm: "For past four-five days, some RSS affiliated professors were promoting violence to break our movement," said JNUSU president Aishe Ghosh, who has been leading a protest against massive fee hike imposed by the university administration.
3:12pm: Additional forces deployed outside Banaras Hindu University (BHU)
3:08pm: JNU VC has made mockery of teaching and learning process, says JNU Teachers' Association
3:05pm: JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) demands removal of vice chancellor following attack on students and teachers
2:55pm: "I condemn the violence which took place last night in JNU. Some elements from Congress, Aam Aadmi Party and the Left are deliberately trying to create an atmosphere of violence and unrest in the country, especially in universities. This should be investigated," tweets Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.
1:49pm: Attack on JNU students reminds me of 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, says Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray
1:46pm: Congress stands in solidarity with youth, students; strongly deprecate sponsored violence in JNU, demands judicial probe: Sonia Gandhi
1:43pm: Congress President Sonia Gandhi says voice of India's youth, students being muzzled everyday. Horrifying violence unleashed on India's young by goons with active abetment of ruling Modi govt, she says in statement
1:40pm: Students feeling unsafe in this country, says Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray on JNU violence
1:34pm: HRD meeting with JNU officials concludes, Vice-Chancellor Jagadesh Kumar stays away, reports news agency PTI
1:12pm: Visuals from JNU campus where violence broke out Sunday evening
Delhi: Inside visuals from Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) where violence broke out yesterday evening in which more than 30 people were injured. pic.twitter.com/CHjuBtp7FU— ANI (@ANI) January 6, 2020
1:10pm: JNU students, professors subjected to cowardly, planned attack, says NCP supremo Sharad Pawar
1:05pm: Wardens of JNU's Sabarmati Hostel Resign
The wardens of the Sabarmati hostel at the Jawaharlal Nehru University resigned on Monday, stating in their resignation letters that they were quitting on "moral grounds" as they were unable to provide security to the hostel residents.
1:03pm: Delhi Commission For Women (DCW) chief Swati Maliwal issues a notice to Delhi Police. In the notice, Maliwal has sought details of the FIR registered in the case and reasons for not responding to violence immediately.
12:08 PM: A meeting of senior AAP leaders and ministers is underway at Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's residence over the violence at the JNU the day before.
11:54 AM: Thirty-four people admitted after violence in JNU were discharged on Monday, four of them had sustained head injuries, AIIMS officials said.
10:46 AM: JNU VC M Jagadesh Kumar has appealed to all students to maintain peace. "Top priority of varsity is to protect academic interests of students," he said.
10:33 AM: Case registered against unidentified people for damage of property and rioting following violence at JNU, says Delhi Police.
9:27 AM: Uttar Pradesh has been put on high alert after the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the national capital witnessed a night of unprecedented violence.
Protests were already taking place in the state over the killing of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani and also the attack on Nankana Saheb Gurudwara in Pakistan. Resentment over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) is also yet to die down completely.
8:32 AM: Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati on Monday condemned the acts of violence on students and teachers of JNU and said that judicial inquiry of the incident can be done to ascertain facts about the incident.
Taking to micro-blogging site twitter, Mayawati wrote, "Violence with students and teachers in JNU is highly condemnable and shameful. The central government should take this incident very seriously. Also, it will be better if there is a judicial inquiry into this incident."
8:11 AM: The Secretary, Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) called the Registrar, Proctor and Rector of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) to his office on Monday.
7:32 AM: Communist Party of India (CPI) (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury on Monday said that police assured actions against the perpetrators of violence in the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus after meeting Delhi Police Public Relations Officer (PRO) MS Randhawa on Monday.
1:16am: Students from different colleges gather outside Gateway of India to protest against the violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University.
Delhi: Protesters gather outside Police Headquarters against the violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University earlier today. pic.twitter.com/VW1baLvgdH— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2020
12:14am: Students from several universities across the country, including Jadavpur University and IIT-Bombay, are staging protests to condemn the violence in JNU
Delhi: Students continue to protest outside JNU campus against the violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University earlier today. pic.twitter.com/UOxJdS1LKf— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2020
11:58pm: 'Modi-Shah's goons' are rampaging through our universities, spreading fear among our children: Priyanka Gandhi
11:34pm: JNUSU says the "university, the students and professors were mercilessly attacked by ABVP goons, in the presence of Delhi Police"
We strongly reject @BJP4India and their false condemnation. This university, the students and professors were mercilessly attacked by ABVP goons, in the presence of @DelhiPolice. There was no violence in JNU. There was only an attack. #JNUAttack #SOSJNU https://t.co/JEIs4QnfaC— JNUSU (@JNUSUofficial) January 5, 2020
11:24pm: Violators of university rules who are trying to disrupt peaceful academic atmosphere of campus will not be spared. A police complaint is being filed to bring culprits to book, says JNU administration
11:13pm: It's deeply sickening about a government that allows violence inflicted on their own children. Many wounded students at AIIMS have broken limbs and injuries on their heads, says Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi who visited injured JNU students at AIIMS
11:09pm: Protests break out at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) against violence at JNU campus, reports news agency PTI
10:59pm: "We strongly condemn the violence on JNU campus. This is a desperate attempt by forces of anarchy, who are determined to use students as cannon fodder, create unrest to shore up their shrinking political footprint. Universities should remain places of learning and education," tweets BJP from its official handle
We strongly condemn the violence on JNU campus. This is a desperate attempt by forces of anarchy, who are determined to use students as cannon fodder, create unrest to shore up their shrinking political footprint. Universities should remain places of learning and education.— BJP (@BJP4India) January 5, 2020
10:48 pm: "I appeal to all students to maintain the dignity of university and peace on campus," HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said.
10:42 pm: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra reaches AIIMS, meets injured JNU students.
10:33pm: Acts of violence, anarchy will not be tolerated; JNU incident unfortunate and highly condemnable: HRD Ministry
10:32pm: A group of masked people entered JNU, threw stones, damaged property and attacked students: HRD Ministry
10:27pm: Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) President Aishe Ghosh has got lacerations on forehead and is undergoing investigation: AIIMS Trauma Centre official
AIIMS Trauma Centre official: Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) President Aishe Ghosh has got lacerations on forehead and is undergoing investigations https://t.co/RHjQxI3OKQ— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2020
10:20pm: Home Minister Amit Shah speaks to Delhi police commissioner; enquires about situation in JNU, reports news agency PTI quoting officials. MHA also seeks report from Delhi Police
10:15pm: 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, tweets Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman
9:54pm: Have seen pictures of what is happening in #JNU. Condemn the violence unequivocally. This is completely against the tradition and culture of the university, tweets External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar.
9:53pm: Strongly condemn brutality unleashed against students, teachers in JNU. No words enough to describe such heinous acts, says West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
9:50pm: We have spoken to JNU VC as well as police officials to ensure peace is maintained on campus: HRD officials
9:47pm: HRD Ministry seeks immediate report from JNU registrar on situation at campus: Officials to PTI
9:46pm: 18 people from JNU have come to AIIMS Trauma Centre with complaints of bleeding in head, abrasions among others. Investigation is underway, reports news agency ANI quoting AIIMS Trauma Centre official
Delhi: Students protest outside Delhi Police headquarters against attack on students at Jawaharlal Nehru University pic.twitter.com/lt62dQIskb— ANI (@ANI) January 5, 2020
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.January 5, 2020
9:17pm: The violence in JNU against students and teachers is highly condemnable. Directed @DelhiPolice 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, tweets LG of Delhi Anil Baijal
9:08pm: Delhi Police says it has entered JNU campus on request of university administration to restore law and order
9:00pm: Spoke to Hon’ble LG and urged him to direct police to restore order. He has assured that he is closely monitoring the situation and taking all necessary steps, tweets Kejriwal
8:53pm: "What we are seeing on Live TV is shocking and horrifying. Masked men enter JNU hostels and attack students. What is the Police doing? Where is the Police Commissioner?" former finance minister P Chidambaram tweeted.
8:49pm: "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 has called the police to maintain order," reads a statement issued by JNU registrar.
8:47pm: I am so shocked to know abt the violence at JNU. Students attacked brutally. Police shud immediately stop violence and restore peace. How will the country progress if our students will not be safe inside univ campus? tweets Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.
8:46pm: Seven ambulances send to Jawaharlal Nehru University, 10 ambulances at standby, says Delhi Government
8:30pm: A student who is in touch with fellow pupils in campus told Outlook that dozens of outsiders have entered with rods and hockey sticks and rampaging the campus. He alleged that the mob included ABVP members.
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.
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.
“I was specifically targeted on Sunday during a peace march on campus. Around 20-25 masked persons disrupted the march and attacked me with iron rods,” union president Ghosh, her head swathed in bandages, told PTI after being released from hospital earlier Monday. She received at least 15 stitches on the head, and her arm was in a cast after the attack.
The ABVP has denied being responsible, and in turn, has blamed Ghosh's Left-supported union of stage managing the violence. It also claimed that many of its activists were injured, but has not presented any to the media.
"For the last four-five days, some RSS affiliated professors were promoting violence to break our movement," Ghosh alleged at a press conference later.
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.
"The horrifying and unprecedented violence unleashed on India’s young by goons with active abetment of the ruling Modi government is deplorable and unacceptable," alleged Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
Union minister Smriti Irani said \Rcampuses should not be made a "political battlefield" and hoped students would not become political pawns.
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.
Protests against the citizenship amendment act and the attack against students of JNU -- which has seen a 70-day strike against the hike in fees -- segued into one with students joining parties across the political spectrum to call for accountability.
The 34 people, including students and faculty members, who were admitted to the AIIMS trauma centre were discharged on Monday morning, officials said.
Large protests took place Monday in universities in Pondicherry to Chandigarh and Aligarh to Kolkata. Protests were also held at the National Law University in Bangalore and IIT-Bombay as well as at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences.
"Today it is them, tomorrow it can be us," Raiza, a Pondicherry university student, said.
In Mumbai, the protest by students at the Gateway of India that started at midnight continued.
In New Delhi, the youth wing of the Congress Party took out a torchlight march through central New Delhi.
In \RNepal , JNU alumni gathered at Maitighar Mandala in Kathmandu to voice their protest, as did students at Oxford University and University of Sussex in Britain and at Columbia University in the US.
Samajwadi Party supremo Akhilesh Yadav and BSP chief Mayawati also condemned the violence.
While Yadav said masked men attacking teachers and students in JNU shows how "low" the government will stoop to rule through "fear" and accused the BJP of using violence and hate to polarise society, Mayawati termed the mob attack shameful and demanded a judicial probe.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said JNU students were subjected to a "cowardly and planned attack".
Bollywood spoke up too. "Horrifying", "heartbreaking" and "barbaric" is how many in the film industry, including actors-filmmakers Anil Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Rajkummar Rao, Anurag Kashyap and Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, described the attack.
The JNU campus was a battle zone with the shattered windowpanes and the shards of glass mute testimonies of the violence the night before.
As students began cleaning the debris, hundreds of security personnel swarmed the campus - and outside it too -- keeping a watchful eye on the restless crowds that sang songs of revolution and raised slogans. Many students also packed their bags and left for their homes.
A Kashmiri student, requesting anonymity, said he was chased by the mob and had jump from the first floor with his friends.
"We were three-four friends inside a room. Suddenly, some of our friends came running and said, 'The ABVP is coming with lathis and rods'. We latched the room but within a few seconds, they started banging on it with lathis. They also broke glass windows on top of the door. Scared, we opened the balcony door and jumped from the first floor. Otherwise they would have killed us," the student said.
Surya Prakash, a visually challenged student, was beaten too.
"They came to my room and beat with me rods. I told them I am blind but they continued the assault. I have been hit badly and I will have to go for an X-ray. I'm scared," he said.
Questions swirled in the air.
How was the armed mob allowed to enter the campus? Why was it taking so long for police to make an arrest?
Shreya Ghosh asked how armed goons could enter the campus and said, "The attack could not have happened without the connivance of the administration and police."
The Home minister spoke to Delhi LG Anil Baijal and requested him to call representatives from JNU for discussions, officials said. However, Shah did not mention JNU when he addressed a gathering here later in the day.
The HRD Ministry, on its part, met officials from the JNU administration and took stock of the situation on the campus but Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar skipped the meeting.
"A detailed report has been sent to the HRD Ministry about the sequence of events," Kumar told PTI.
The clamour for Kumar's resignation grew louder with the students' union and the JNU Teachers Association accusing him of behaving like a "mobster" and of "perpetrating violence" in the university.
"The violence that happened is the result of the desperation and frustration of the VC and his cronies,” JNUSU said.
Sunday night’s attack - exactly three weeks after violence in Jamia Millia Islamia - led to furious reactions from political parties too.
Congress leader P Chidambaram said the violence in JNU was an example of the country's "descent into fascism" and the incident was the most clinching evidence of India rapidly descending into anarchy.
And while Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray of the Shiv Sena compared the JNU violence with the 26/11 terror attack, his counterpart in Kerala and political rival Pinarayi Vijayan said "Nazi-style attacks" on students and teachers inside the campus were an attempt to create unrest and violence in the country.
The Left leader said the attack on students is an "appalling display of intolerance running amok".