Demonstrators shout slogans outside the Delhi Police Headquarters to protest following alleged clashes between student groups at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi on January 5, 2020 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Protests against the violence began on Sunday night

Students in several major Indian cities are planning protests after students and teachers of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in the capital Delhi were attacked on Sunday night.

At least 40 students and staff were admitted to hospital after being attacked by masked men wielding sticks.

Police have begun a probe and say they have identified some of the assailants.

Students in some cities like Mumbai and Hyderabad have already taken to the streets in support of JNU.

The JNU student union blamed Sunday’s violence on the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a right-wing student body linked to India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). However, the ABVP said that its members had been attacked by left-wing groups, and some had been injured.

The cause of the attack is still unclear. There were violent clashes at JNU last year over a rise in hostel fees.

The university initially released a statement informing students that “armed miscreants” were “roaming around, damaging property and attacking people”.

It later released another statement in which it blamed a “group of students” who were opposing an ongoing admission process to register new students. It is widely believed that the statement referred to leftist students who have been protesting against the hostel fee hike for the past three months.

The university also recently saw protests over a controversial citizenship law.

Students at the university said they would take out rallies against the violence on Monday. A group of them also protested against police “inaction”, alleging that it took them hours to get to the campus.

The atmosphere around the campus is still tense, reports the BBC’s Vikas Pandey who is at JNU.

“Students are really worried about their future. They fear more attacks. The fear is such that many of them refused to talk on camera, fearing reprisals. They all blame the ABVP for the violence,” he said.

Further protests in support of JNU are being planned in several other cities as well.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Police said they had secured the campus and deployed officers to deter further violence

In the financial capital, Mumbai, university students will continue a protest against the incident at the Gateway of India monument. They had gathered there by midnight, with more and more people joining in since then.

The students of Jamia Millia Islamia university in Delhi and the Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh state, which have also recently seen violence on campus premises, are planning to take out big protests on Monday.

Demonstrations are also expected in the cities of Hyderabad, Chennai (formerly Madras), Ahmedabad and Chandigarh.

The violence has been condemned across the board, including by defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman and foreign minister S Jaishankar – both of whom are alumni of the university.


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