Hindu Fascist Mob Assaults Students at Leading Indian University—Protests Escalate Throughout India

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On Sunday, January 5, fascist thugs attacked students, professors, and university staff at Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi, India, one of India’s major universities and known as a progressive campus.

Dozens of masked men, chanting fascist slogans armed with bricks, rocks, and iron rods, charged into campus, brutally assaulting the students and university personnel, forcing them to run “for their lives” as one student said. The mob chased them into their dormitories, forcing students to barricade themselves in their rooms, as the fascists vandalized their dorms, specially singling out progressive or Muslim students to beat up based on the posters and books in their rooms.

“They pelted stones at us, stones half the size of bricks,” one professor who was hit in the head and bleeding profusely told the New York Times. “I saw the face of terror.”

After an hour-long rampage, with the attackers openly roaming around campus menacing people as police stood by and did nothing, at least 42 students and others had been injured, most hospitalized, and many more terrorized. Videos showed police standing by as students were being beaten, having turned off the street lights and letting the mob roam without interference.

Despite revelations by the press of who was behind these fascist mob attacks, as of this writing no arrests have been made—and the only people charged are the victims, including Aishe Ghosh, the student union president, who was hit over her eye with an iron rod and was taken to the hospital.

What has become clear is these thugs are part of or closely associated with the Hindu fascist student group Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, associated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party and its parent organization, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). One RSS leader defended the assault: “The students of JNU are communists and they had to be taught a lesson.”

The attack on JNU is part of a larger campaign by the fascists to reshape academia to serve their whole fascist agenda, since Modi’s election in 2014. They have moved across the board in undercutting student and university rights, and appointing pro-RSS administrators, while encouraging the forming of Nazi style fascist thug organizations on campuses. JNU, as a leading progressive university, has been in their crosshairs.

“For the Modi government, JNU has been a symbol of the territory they haven’t been able to capture,” a student of the RSS told the New York Times. “They are projecting it as a symbol of everything that is bad in this country, and that is why they need to destroy it.”

This vicious attack of terror sparked a further wave of protests by students and others throughout India, with some erupting that night itself, and spreading through the next week across the country. These student protests are a very positive development, standing in solidarity with the JNU students who have refused to back down, calling for the dismissal of various authorities responsible, feeling, as one student commented, “an unprecedented attack on our existence.” One of India’s top film actresses, along with some other celebrities, joined the vigils of solidarity against the attack, with fascists calling for boycott of their films and art. Many others joined the students who occupied and protested over multiple days and nights at one of India’s most famous landmarks, the Gateway of India in Mumbai.

Background on the Hindu Fascist Assault Since the Re-election of Modi

Modi and the RSS program is to turn India from a secular state, with at least formal rights for all the country’s religious and national minorities, into a fascist state that is a “Hindu rashtra,” i.e., a Hindu country. India has the second largest number of Muslims in the world, with about 200 million Muslims, and this program is a direct attack on Muslims and other minorities.

After Modi’s re-election, their fascist assault on the secular foundations of the India state has recently taken major leaps1—with the withdrawal of autonomy from Kashmir, India’s only Muslim majority state, and millions being declared stateless in the state of Assam, bordering Bangladesh and with a large number of Bengali migrants. They were forced to take a punitive new citizenship test which forced them to produce documents proving they or their ancestors lived in India before 1971 or be declared foreign migrants.

In mid-December the “Citizenship Amendment Bill” was passed in parliament. The bill overtly discriminates against Muslims, making religion a criterion for determining which immigrants can be allowed for Indian citizenship, specifically excluding Muslims from being considered. This goes along with a proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), which will be an official record of all legal citizens of India where individuals would have to provide a prescribed set of documents for inclusion. These are potentially genocidal measures against the Muslims in India, given the underlying ideological program of the Modi Hindu-fascists.

These draconian, anti-Muslim measures have sparked massive protests, which have cut across religious lines throughout India and that have continued for the past month, with students playing a key and very dynamic role. Savage police attacks and repression have fueled greater outrage and resistance, turning the current upsurge into one of the most powerful student-led protests since the country obtained independence in 1947.


1. See “Admit That the Waters Around You Have Grown,” by Coco Das.  [back]

Indian students and activists shout slogans against fascist attack on students by masked men inside Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, India, January 2020. Photo: AP

Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union (JNUSU) President Aishe Ghosh: “I have been brutally attacked by goons wearing masks.” Photo: Twitter

As Bob Avakian said on the occasion of the Arab Spring in Egypt, in “EGYPT 2011: MILLIONS HAVE HEROICALLY STOOD UP... THE FUTURE REMAINS TO BE WRITTEN”:

When people in their masses, in their millions, finally break free of the constraints that have kept them from rising up against their oppressors and tormentors, then whether or not their heroic struggle and sacrifice will really lead to a fundamental change, moving toward the abolition of all exploitation and oppression, depends on whether or not there is a leadership, communist leadership, that has the necessary scientific understanding and method, and on that basis can develop the necessary strategic approach and the influence and organized ties among growing numbers of the people, in order to lead the uprising of the people, through all the twists and turns, to the goal of a real, revolutionary transformation of society, in accordance with the fundamental interests of the people. And, in turn, when people massively break with the “normal routine” and the tightly woven chains of oppressive relations in which they are usually entrapped and by which they are heavily weighed down—when they break through and rise up in their millions—that is a crucial time for communist organization to further develop its ties with those masses, strengthening its ranks and its ability to lead. Or, if such communist organization does not yet exist, or exists only in isolated fragments, this is a crucial time for communist organization to be forged and developed, to take up the challenge of studying and applying communist theory, in a living way, in the midst of this tumultuous situation, and to strive to continually develop ties with, to influence and to ultimately lead growing numbers of the masses in the direction of the revolution that represents their fundamental and highest interests, the communist revolution.




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