The JNU Students Union (JNUSU) and teachers' community blamed the JNU JNU vice-chancellor, M. Jagadesh Kumar for the brutal campus violence unleashed on Sunday night. Calling it an attempt to "terrorise the students" the teachers' community demanded an immediate ousting of the JNU VC.
"This Vice-Chancellor is a cowardly Vice-Chancellor who introduces illegal policies through the backdoor, runs away from the questions of students or teachers and then manufactures a situation to demonize JNU," said a statement from JNUSU. "For nearly seventy days now, the students of JNU have been fighting a courageous battle to save their university from the clutches of privatisation and greed. The VC is adamant that by sending a message that a fee hike has happened in JNU, he can prove that accessible education is not possible," it added.
The JNUSU holds the Vice-Chancellor responsible for the violence. "He is using henchmen to perpetrate violence on students and vandalise the university," said JNUSU "The JNU community has a single point of demand. That either this VC resigns or the MHRD as the competent authority remove him! Those who are trying to malign and destroy this university will not succeed," demanded JNUSU.
Violence broke out at Jawaharlal Nehru University on Sunday night as masked men armed with sticks and rods attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus, prompting the administration to call in police which conducted a flag march. At least 28 people, including JNU Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh, were injured as chaos reigned on the campus for nearly two hours.
Eyewitnesses alleged the attackers entered the premises when a meeting was being held by JNU Teachers' Association on the issue of violence on campus and assaulted students and professors. They also barged into three hostels. Video footage aired by some TV channels showed a group of men, who were brandishing hockey sticks and rods, moving around a building. The Left-controlled JNUSU and the RSS-backed ABVP blamed each other for the incident.
Senior Union ministers and JNU alumni S Jaishankar and Nirmala Sitharaman too condemned the violence. Sitharaman said the pictures of violence were horrifying and asserted that the government wants universities to be safe spaces for all students. Amid allegations of delayed action, Delhi Police said it conducted a flag march and the situation was brought under control after it got a written request from the JNU administration to enter the campus. It, however, did not say if any arrests had been made.
There was a massive deployment of security personnel in and around the campus after the violence and the entrance gates were closed. The students' union alleged its members, including Ghosh, were injured in stone-pelting by ABVP members. The JNUSU claimed "ABVP members wearing masks were moving around on the campus with lathis, rods, and hammers". "They are pelting bricks...getting into hostels and beating up students. Several teachers have also been beaten up."
(With agency inputs)