Sunday's bloody violence at Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) triggered a huge political row, prompting leaders from across parties to condemn the mob attack on the students and teachers that left at least 34 injured. Campuses should not be made ''rajneeti ka akhada'' or "battlefield for politics", Union Minister Smriti Irani said today.
"I had said it earlier and reiterating it now that educational institutions should not be made rajneeti ka akhada (battlefield for politics) as it affects the life and progress of our students," Ms Irani told reporters.
Opposition parties have hit out at the BJP-led government at the centre and blamed it for the unprecedented attack. The Congress termed it "state-sponsored terrorism", with Rahul Gandhi saying that it was a "reflection of fear" that "fascists in control of our nation" have of the students.
"I hope students will not be used as rajneetik mohre (political tools)," Smriti Irani said when she was asked about the JNU episode.
"A probe has started in the matter and it is not justified for me to comment on it as I am in a constitutional post," the MP from Uttar Pradesh's Amethi added.
Senior Union Ministers S Jaishankar and Nirmala Sitharaman, both alumni of JNU, too had condemned the violence. Ms Sitharaman said the pictures of violence were horrifying and asserted that the government wants universities to be safe spaces for all students.
As thousands of students in various cities showed solidarity with the JNU students and teachers through nightlong protests and vigils, Union Home Minister Amit Shah sought a report from Delhi Police. The police said they are identifying the masked attackers using "viral screen shots on social media and the CCTV footage". However, no arrests have been made yet. Some of the assailants have been identified, the police said.