MUMBAI: Comparing the attack on students of Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi to the 26/11 terror strikes in Mumbai 12 years ago, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Monday said that the real face behind the violence needs to be exposed.
“Why were the attackers faces covered? Why are they hiding? I was reminded of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks... They are cowards,” Thackeray said condemning the violence strongly.
“Those who indulged in the violence need to be unmasked and their faces must be known to the whole country,” he added.
Saying that students were feeling “unsafe” in the country, Thackeray asserted that students in Maharashtra were safe and that he will not tolerate any move to hurt them.
“If Delhi Police fail to find out perpetrators of the attack, then they will also be in the dock,” he said.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar too condemned the violence saying that the JNU students were subjected to a “cowardly and planned attack”.
“Use of violence to suppress democratic values won’t succeed,” he said.
Politicians in Maharashtra expressed solidarity as students protested against the violence at several places across the state. NCP leader and Maharashtra housing minister Jitendra Awhad joined the protesting students at Gateway of India on Monday noon.
“When people begin to fear intellect, there is anarchy. I am going to convey feelings of the students to the government. When students agitate, one should understand that this is a serious issue,” he said after participating in the protests for a brief period.
NCP MLA Rohit Pawar too met the agitating students at the Gateway to express solidarity with them on Monday evening, while cabinet minister and Yuva Sena leader Aditya Thackeray put up a post on facebook terming the masked attackers at JNU “terrorists”.
“The attackers have tarnished India’s image in front of the whole world. They should be called terrorists as they came with masks on their face like terrorists,” Thackeray said adding that if there is no quick action against such violence, the foreign students won’t come to Indian institutions.
In an impromptu assembly at a short notice, students gathered on pavement across the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel near Gateway of India on Sunday midnight after they held a candlelight vigil to show solidarity with the JNU students. The protests grew larger as it continued on Monday and students from various colleges joined them. The students shouted slogans condemning the violence at JNU.
There were several other protests at several places across the city and the state. While students at IIT Powai held protests on Sunday night, NCP workers staged a protest outside the BJP office in Mumbai on Monday to show solidarity with JNU students. They shouted slogans against Union Home Minister Amit Shah after which they were taken into custody.
In Pune, students held protests at FTII. They put up posters condemning the attack and demanding strict action against the attackers and also condemned the government for failure to stop violence.
Sunday evening saw several masked intruders barge into JNU campus and create havoc among students, assaulting them with sticks, metal rods and stones. The injured have accused the ABVP activists for the attacks, while the ABVP activists on campus have also pointed fingers at the Left student activists.
The president of JNUSU Aishee Ghosh suffered a severe head injury and was seen bleeding heavily. More than 34 others were released from the hospital after treatment for injuries following the violence.
The FIR filed with the Delhi Police by both the ABVP and the left party was on Monday transferred to its Crime Branch for investigation.