Chief Ministers of non-BJP-ruled States and eminent personalities decried the attack on students and faculty of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) by masked goons on Sunday evening. Protest marches were held at several campuses across the country on Monday to express solidarity with JNU students.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray compared the JNU violence with the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack and said, “ Students are feeling unsafe in the country. I will not allow anything like JNU to happen in Maharashtra.” Maharashtra Minister Jitendra Awhad also joined an overnight protest by students at the Gateway of India.
Calling the attack a “fascist surgical strike”, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee urged students to “unite and fight together against the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre”. Harking back to her early days as a student leader, the Trinamool Congress chief cited the situation in JNU, Aligarh Muslim University and “even Visva-Bharati” to illustrate what she called a “dangerous planned attack on democracy”.
Ms. Banerjee's Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik also condemned the attack, tweeting that violence has no space in democracy and such attacks on students must be condemned unequivocally. The Biju Janata Dal leader appealed to the law enforcement agencies to take stiff action to apprehend the culprits.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh of the Congress called the violence “barbaric and atrocious” and said the situation in JNU is clearly out of hand. Tagging Delhi Police in a tweet, he said it cannot remain a silent spectator to the mayhem unleashed by a handful of goons in the premier university.
Condemning the violence, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the “Nazi-style onslaught” on students and teachers inside the campus was an attempt to create unrest and violence in the country. The CPI(M) leader said news reports about Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad activists attempting to stop the ambulance carrying the injured students' union president showed the extent of their plan to create a riot.
Nobel laureate and JNU alumnus Abhijit Banerjee also invoked the N-word, telling News18.com that the incident “has too many echoes of the years when Germany was moving towards Nazi rule”. The MIT professor called on the Modi government to establish the truth of what happened in JNU.
Top industrialists such as Anand Mahindra, Harsh Mariwala and Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, actors Alia Bhatt, Anil Kapoor, Rajkummar Rao and sportspersons including former India opener and BJP MP Gautam Gambhir were among those who condemned the attacks.
Anger over the JNU violence resonated in universities across the country. In the second protest within 24 hours, hundreds of students of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) took out a 'Tiranga Yatra' on Monday to condemn the attack on JNU students. On Sunday night, they had taken out a candlelight procession in solidarity with JNU after news of violence in the university spread.
At Punjab University, some students disrupted the address of Haryana Assembly Speaker Gian Chand Gupta at a seminar and shouted slogans against the RSS, ABVP and BJP; security personnel removed the protesters from the seminar hall.
Protests also took place at Pondicherry University, Bangalore University, National Law University in Bengaluru, University of Hyderabad, Osmania University, University of Mumbai, Delhi University, Ambedkar University Delhi, IIT-Bombay, TISS Mumbai, Banaras Hindu University, Chandigarh University, Savitri Bai Phule University in Pune, Jadavpur University and Presidency University, Kolkata.
(With inputs from PTI)