Hundreds of demonstrators, including students and members of civil society organisations, hit the streets on Thursday (January 9) protesting the recent violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and demanding resignation of the varsity vice-chancellor.
The protesters, carrying placards and banners, started a march from Mandi House towards the HRD Ministry. Slogans of ‘Halla Bol’ and ‘Inquilab Zindabad’ rent the air as the agitating people waited for JNU students to arrive at the protest venue.
Banners with messages like ‘No CAA’, ‘No NRC’ and ‘Ban ABVP from university campuses’, ‘Reject Violence’, ‘Education is not a commodity to be bought or sold’ dotted the swelling crowd that demanded strict action against those involved in the campus violence of January 5 that left more than 35 injured. CPI (M) leaders Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Prakash Karat and Brinda Karat also joined the march. LJD leader Sharad Yadav was also among the protesters.
“People have started speaking up and that is what these people are not able to take. They are manufacturing stories that the protests have nothing to do with students or workers but are political,” Brinda said, referring to the ruling BJP government.
Yechury said, “For three hours, people wearing masks beat up varsity students. They entered the campus with police being present at the main gate.” Alleging that the incident could not have happened without the vice-chancellor knowing about it, he said, “The VC has to go”.
On Sunday, a mob of masked men stormed the campus and targeted students in three hostels, unleashing mayhem with sticks, stones and iron rods by hitting inmates and breaking windows, furniture and personal belongings. The JNU students union has been demanding a rollback of the hostel and mess fee hike and had boycotted the registration process for the next semester.