Opposition to up the ante on JNU violence

Opposition to up the ante on JNU violence

Demonstrators shout slogans during a protest against the attacks on the students of New Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University on Sunday, in Kolkata. Reuters

Opposition parties are considering a series of steps to lend their support to students' protest against the violence at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).

These include a march by the varsity alumni to JNU, a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind by MPs who are former students and a delegation to Rashtrapati Bhavan to impress upon Kovind the situation.

Consultations among Opposition parties have begun on how to provide support to the struggle of students, who along with their teachers were beaten up by "masked goons belonging to ABVP" inside the campus on Sunday evening.

While the parties do not intend to usurp the leadership of the protests, leaders said that they want to express their solidarity with the students and university, which is a "target for its opposition" to the Narendra Modi government.

JNU students have been up in arms against the government on a variety of issues including the Hindutva agenda and fee hike.

An alumni march is being planned on Tuesday which will see the participation of prominent former students like CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury and senior CPM leader Prakash Karat.

Opposition leaders have also initiated the collection of signatures of MPs, who were former students of JNU, in a memorandum to be submitted to the President, who is also JNU Visitor.

Consultations are also on the question of top leaders meeting the President to apprise him on the situation in the campus. Sources said that the Opposition leaders are seeking time from the President to meet him on January 13.

"Masked" people had violently attacked teachers and students on Sunday evening in which around two dozen students and faculty members suffered injuries.

Police were accused of allowing the attackers to run riot on the campus.

Yechury told a press conference, "the attack in JNU was pre-planned. It was not an attack just on higher education but on reason, rationality and democracy. All institutions of higher education are targeted. Accountability must be fixed for this assault on JNU and culprits punished."

Demanding that the Ministry of Home Affairs under Amit Shah should take "full responsibility" of the "cowardly fascist attack" which was "aided" by Delhi Police, CPI general secretary D Raja said, "the home minister talks about the 'tukde-tukde gang'. The government we have today is the 'tukde-tukde gang'. This government is dividing people and the country."

On the other side, Shah and other BJP leaders have been painting protesters as the 'tukde-tukde gang'.

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