NEW DELHI -- Students in universities across India and even abroad staged protests in solidarity with students of New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University who were attacked by masked mobs allegedly linked to rightwing Hindu groups on Sunday.
Protests took place at Pondicherry University, Bengaluru University, University of Hyderabad and Aligarh Muslim University. Students staged peaceful marches to register their protest against the violence on the JNU campus.
"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.
Protests were also seen at Oxford and Columbia University where students expressed solidarity and took out marches holding posters demanding safety of students on campus.
Tension and violence erupted at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University Campus in New Delhi on Sunday when masked men allegedly from Hindutva groups attacked the students and teachers living on the campus with iron rods and pelted stones breaking window panes and furniture of the hostel rooms.
Distressing messages and social media posts suggested that students were attacked with rods which caused injuries to them. Aishe Ghosh, the JNU student Union president was among the students attacked by the masked men.
A viral Facebook video shows Gosh saying: "I am not even in a condition to talk. I have been brutally attacked by goons wearing masks. I have been bleeding. I was brutally beaten up."
Some of the injured were taken to All India Institute of Medical Scenices New Delhi for treatment. Dr Harjit Singh Bhatti, a doctor posted in trauma centre confirmed to Caravan Daily that the injured were brought to the trauma centre where he is posted. "Most of them have head injures and severe laceration." Dr Bhatti said: "Two of the injured brought here were in a serious condition and they have been shifted to red area."
In clear violation of the humanitarian and medical norms, ambulances carrying medics and paramedics on way to the varsity campus to provide medical care to the injured were stopped by the mob.
The victims have claimed that the "goons who went on the rampage inside the campus" belong to the ABVP, the student wing of the RSS and BJP.
However the ABVP, according to The Wire, has claimed "Left activists" were responsible for the violence and vandalism.
In the past few years, the varsity has often remained under media spotlight due to the different political ideologies trying to dominate the vibrant campus politics.
Analysts say that the campus is one of the few places in the country where dissent and criticism of the power is welcomed.
According to the latest information, police personnel are stationed in and outside the campus but have remained mute spectators.
The university registrar has issued a statement acknowledging the tense situation inside the campus. "This is an urgent message for the entire JNU community that there is a law and order situation on the campus. Masked miscreants armed with sticks are roaming around, damaging property and attacking people. The JNU Administration has called the police to maintain order." JNU registrar Pramod Kumar wrote in the statement.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi led the condemnations by several political leaders saying "the fascists in control of our nation were fearful of our brave youth".
Reacting to the situation, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted that he was shocked to know about the violence at JNU. "Students attacked brutally. Police should immediately stop violence and restore peace. How will the country progress if our students will not be safe inside university campus?"
It was reported that the attackers chanted slogans like "Bharat Mata Ki jai" and "desh ke gaddaron ko, goli maro salon ko."
Prof Sucharita Sen has been admitted in AIIMS, Delhi, after being injured, JNU Teachers' Association (JNUTA) said.
The JNUSU alleged that "ABVP members wearing masks were moving around on the campus with lathis, rods and hammers", the PTI reported.
A student who is present on the campus, alleged, "ABVP members have in a planned manner attacked the students who have been protesting for the past 70 days. They are roaming around the campus breaking things and beating up students."
"They have attacked JNUSU president, broken her head, and injured teachers as well. The police are complicit in this," he told Outlook.