New Delhi: The Congress party issued a statement condemning the attack on deputy leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Anand Sharma at a protest meet in JNU on Saturday evening. The party claimed that he was attacked by "ABVP goons".
"Today is a black day for India's democracy when Deputy Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Anand Sharma was publicly attacked with sharp-edged weapon by government protected ABVP goons on the JNU campus. We condemn this cowardly attack in strongest words," said the statement issued by party spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.
Anand was allegedly attacked as he was leaving the protest meet held at Jawaharlal Nehru University against the arrest of the varsity's students' union president Kanhaiya Kumar in a sedition case and the police crackdown on the campus on Friday.
The former Union minister was reportedly jostled by ABVP activists who surrounded him. They were protesting Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's participation in the meet.
"This rank goondaism by ABVP goons reflects the mental frame of mind of BJP and Modi government, who want to stifle the voice of students, shut down JNU and curb civil rights with brute force of hooligans protected by Delhi Police," the statement issued by the Congress post midnight said.
Congress and Left leaders including Rahul Gandhi and Ajay Maken, CPI's D Raja, CPM's Sitaram Yechury and CPI-ML leader Kavita Krishnan were among those who had visited the JNU campus to express solidarity with the campaign titled 'Stand With JNU/Save JNU and Nation' organised by all the students organisations, teachers union and present and forOpposition in Rajya Sa bearers of JNU. Yogendra Yadav of Swaraj Abhiyan also joined the protest later.
The statement added that Congress "condemned the raising of anti-India slogans by a handful of persons on JNU campus on 9th February and had demanded strict action against them".
The BJP government has unleashed its anti-JNU tirade in the garb of this episode, the Congress said. "None less than Prime Minister Narendra Modi (when he was chief minister of Gujarat) had branded JNU as a laboratory of secularists which needs to be shut down. Different BJP leaders have been tarnishing entire JNU as anti-national."
The statement also accused the BJP government of sending police into JNU hostels to conduct room-to-room search in which male police personnel entered even the rooms of women students. Delhi Police chief BS Bassi, however, denied this earlier.
"All this was done with a view to intimidate and stifle the voice of liberal and democratic thought process," the statement added. (IANS)