The violence in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) stirred the country’s restive campuses into action again on Monday, as students across the country protested over the attack by masked men, even as the premier varsity’s vice chancellor came under pressure to resign.
The incident on Sunday night — which left at least 30 students and a faculty member of the university critically injured — was also condemned by actors, business tycoons and rights activists, as shell-shocked students shared first-person accounts of the horrific incident.
On Monday, in solidarity with JNU students, protests were held at Pondicherry University, Bangalore University, University of Hyderabad, Aligarh Muslim University, University of Mumbai, Delhi University, Ambedkar University, Banaras Hindu University, National Law School of India University in Bengaluru, Savitri Bai Phule University in Pune, TISS Mumbai, Jadavpur University, Presidency University, Kolkata and IIT Bombay.
Opposition parties strongly condemned the violence, with West Bengal Chief Mamata Banerjee terming it a “fascist surgical strike”, while
2019 Economics Nobel winner Abhijeet Banerjee, a JNU alumni, said the attacks had “echoes of the years when Germany was moving towards Nazi rule”.
The Indian Youth Congress took out a torchlight procession up to India Gate against “many unfolded aspects of the brutal attack in JNU campus”.
Top industry titans joined the chorus of condemnation, with Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra, in a tweet, stating that “those who invaded JNU tonight must be traced & hunted down swiftly & given no quarter”, while Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar Shaw terming the incident “unpardonable”. Sections of Bollywood, including director Zoya Akhtar, actors Anil Kapoor Alia Bhatt, Swara Bhasker, Sonam Kapoor Ahuja and others expressed outrage over the incident.
Students and faculty members of JNU alleged that both police personnel and private security guards of the varsity remained “mute spectators” as masked men entered the varsity and went on a rampage.
“It was an organised attack. They were singling out people and attacking. There is a clear nexus between the JNU security (staff) and vandals. They did not intervene to stop violence,” JNU students Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh, who suffered a severe injury in her head, told reporters.