Masked attackers storm Indian university, beating up protesters
NEW DELHI: Masked assailants beat students and teachers with sticks on the campus of a prestigious university in India's capital, injuring more than 20 people in an attack opposition lawmakers are trying to link to the government.
Videos showed people in masks roaming the corridors of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and beating students who were protesting against a fee hike. Most of the injured were treated at a hospital for cuts and bruises.
New Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik said the incident was a clash between rival student groups.
Opposition parties and injured students blamed the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a student organisation linked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"The fascists in control of our nation are afraid of the voices of our brave students. Today's violence in JNU is a reflection of that fear," tweeted Mr Rahul Gandhi, a leading politician of the main opposition Congress party.
Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad released a statement saying it did not start the violence.
The government was quick to condemn the violence.
"Horrifying images from JNU - the place I know and remember was one for fierce debates and opinions but never violence. I unequivocally condemn the events of today," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, a member of the BJP, said on Twitter.
The party released a statement blaming opposition parties for the violence and trying to "create unrest to shore up their shrinking political footprint".
Hours after the attack, students and ordinary people across the country took to the streets. Hundreds gathered outside the police headquarters in New Delhi and accused officers of inaction. In Mumbai, students from several educational institutions gathered at the Gateway of India and demanded that the government act against the assailants. - AP