Hours after violence broke out at the JNU campus on Sunday, teachers raised questions on the university’s security and alleged that the administration was hand in glove with the attackers.
They also said the violence had left students petrified.
Heavy police deployment was made outside the campus after masked men armed with sticks entered the university and attacked students and teachers, leaving many injured. Teachers spoke to mediapersons from inside the university gate.
Mahalaxmi, a History Department professor in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), said teachers had organised a peace meet at the Sabarmati T-point at 5 pm.
“As soon as it got over, we saw that a large number of people entered the campus and they started arbitrarily attacking teachers and students.
“Apparently, they had been told to attack certain teachers and students and that is what they did. They did not stop at that, they were just roaming freely with sticks and beating people with impunity,” she said.
The professor said students are under great stress and petrified.
“So if this is the situation inside the campus which is being manned by a number of police and security personnel and if this happens, how will you explain the situation. It means that the administration is hand in glove with these people,” she said.
At least 28 people, including JNU Students’ Union president Aishe Ghosh, were injured and admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) as chaos reigned on the campus for nearly two hours.
The JNU administration called in police to restore law and order.
Pradeep Shinde, a Labour Studies professor, said the biggest question was how a large number of armed people entered the campus.
“How did such a large number of people, armed with rods, enter the campus, that is what we are wondering. I think they were political activists instigated by the people who always call us anti-nationals,” he said.
He said students are protesting against fee hike.
“If the fee hike is accepted, half of the university will be vacant as they (students) will have to go home. So these people are fighting to save public education. Instead of appreciating them, these people are attacking us and calling us anti-nationals,” he added.
For over two months now, JNU students have been protesting the administration’s decision to hike the hostel fee. Students have also been boycotting classes as part of the protest.
In a statement, the JNU Teachers’ Association (JNUTA) said it condemns the orgy of violence that was unleashed in JNU “with the connivance of the JNU administration with the police standing by as mute spectators“.
“Mobs not only went around hostels attacking several students, severely injuring many of them, a JNUTA meeting called to appeal for peace on campus was also attacked by a mob of masked people with stones and sticks,” it said.
A teacher suffered head injuries and had to be hospitalised, the JNUTA said, adding that cars of several teachers were also smashed.
The JNUTA held the varsity administration “singularly responsible” for the grave situation.
“It is a product of its (administration’s) desperation in the light of its failure to resolve the crisis created by its high-handed imposition of a fee hike. Students have been on an agitation for over 70 days and the VC’s obstinacy has prevented any resolution,” it said.