Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) Vice Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar said he was heckled at the university campus today by some students who also attacked his car amid ongoing protests at the varsity over hostel fee hike.
"At around 4:30 pm, I had gone to the School of Arts and Aesthetics administration block. When I was returning after checking the examination centres, around 15-20 students surrounded me, they tried to physically harm me. They were very abusive," Mr Kumar said.
"Fortunately, some security guards and policemen in plain clothes formed a circle around me. They tried to take me away from there. I got into a car, just a few metres away. The students, however, took the ignition key of the vehicle," he recalled.
"I got into another vehicle but students tried to stop me again," he said, adding that he was helped by his security staff. Visuals showed a student climbing on to the bonnet of a car as the vehicle sped away. The windshield of the vehicle was broken as students demanded a dialogue with the vice chancellor after he got into the car.
After he left, the protesting students damaged his office, Mr Kumar claimed. "This is very very unbecoming of the students," he told news agency ANI.
The attack on the Vice Chancellor's office has been caught on surveillance camera, Mr Kumar said. "Appropriate action will be taken against the protesters," he warned.
The university has been witnessing protests over hostel fee hike for over a month. Students have also been boycotting exams over the issue.
On Thursday, Mr Kumar had held several meetings with students and teachers to resolve the protests. The meeting, however, ended without any conclusion. After the meeting, students told reporters that the vice-chancellor "did not reply" to the demands of a complete rollback of the fee hike.
In a statement, JNU Students Union today urged the vice chancellor to "resume the dialogue".
"It has come to the notice of the JNUSU that the Vice Chancellor, who does not hold any dialogue with the students, came to the School of Arts and Aesthetics today evening, wherein he was asked questions regarding the fee hike by the students. Instead of answering questions, he ran away from the spot. It is shameful that not only while leaving, his car tried to run over a student, whilst injuring other students near his car, but after going back he is tweeting complete lies and falsehoods," the statement read.
"The VC has a habit of running away and this was a typical example of the same behaviour. It is the VC's duty to have a democratic dialogue with the university students, and the dereliction of the same is unbecoming of the JNU VC. We urge him to resume dialogue with the elected JNUSU and resolve the issues by accepting our reasonable demands," the statement added.
Earlier this week, the Delhi High Court had directed the police to provide adequate security to the Vice Chancellor, registrar and other officials.
The attack came a day after the high court had asked the university administration to file an affidavit mentioning academic details of the students against whom the varsity has filed a contempt petition for violating court's order restraining protests within 100 meters of the administrative block.