New Delhi: The Congress party on Saturday blamed “goons” of BJP's youth wing, the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), for the attack on its senior leader Anand Sharma at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
The party condemned the attack on Anand Sharma, deputy leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, at a protest meet in JNU on Saturday evening.
"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," a party statement issued by spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala post midnight said.
As per reports, Sharma was at JNU to attend a protest meet held against the arrest of the university's students` union president Kanhaiya Kumar in a sedition case and the police crackdown in the campus on Friday.
The attack took place when the Congress leader was leaving the varsity after attending the protest meet.
Sharma, a former Union minister, was jostled by ABVP activists who had surrounded him. The ABVP activists were protesting against 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 said.
A sea of opposition leaders including Congress' Rahul Gandhi and Ajay Maken, CPI`s D Raja, CPM`s Sitaram Yechury and CPI-ML's Kavita Krishnan visited the JNU campus on Saturday to express solidarity with the campaign titled `Stand With JNU/Save JNU and Nation`.
The Congress statement added that the party "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 alleged.
"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 said.