As a group of masked people unleashed mayhem and violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University for three hours on Sunday evening, attacking students and teachers with sticks, iron rods and sledgehammers, tensions had been brewing in the campus since Saturday over the issue of registration for the new semester. Follow LIVE Updates
On the back of protests against hostel fee hike, that has been going on for around three months, the JNU Students’ Union on Friday decided to boycott the process of registration for the new semester on all five days. Registration for the winter semester has been opened from January 1 to 5.
In November, the ABVP withdrew support to the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union’s strike against the hostel manual and also demanded that the three-member high power committee set up by HRD Ministry to look into the JNU issue be scrapped. The ABVP backed the continuation of the registration process.
On January 4, a scuffle reportedly broke out between Left and ABVP students after students from Left parties allegedly went into the computer room and disconnected cables to stop the registration process. Around noon, a few ABVP students, who had gone for the registration of the winter semester, were allegedly attacked.
Later, on Sunday evening a masked mob went on a rampage at JNU, injuring 22 students, including JNU Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Aishe Ghosh, two teachers, and two guards, who have been admitted to AIIMS and Safdarjung Hospital.
The chaos started around 6:30 pm when a ‘peace march’ called by the JNU Teachers’ Association on campus was wrapping up. Police finally arrived outside the campus only around 7.30 pm and said it held flag marches inside at regular intervals after midnight.
Eyewitnesses and many of those injured said the men, who as per some estimates numbered around 100, were mostly outsiders and belonged to the ABVP — a charge the RSS student outfit denied.
Following the violence, the administration, including the Vice-Chancellor, sought to suggest the students protesting against hostel fee hike were responsible for violence on campus.
“Around 4.30 pm, a group of students, who are against the registration process, moved aggressively from the front of the admin block and reached hostels. The administration immediately contacted the police to come quickly and maintain law and order. However, by the time police came, students who are for the registration were beaten up by a group of agitating students…It is unfortunate that a group of students with their violent means of protests are preventing thousands of non-agitating students from pursuing their academic activities,” a statement by Registrar Pramod Kumar said.
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