16:22 GMT26 November 2020
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    New Delhi (Sputnik): Students and teachers at a top Indian university in the country's capital were attacked by unidentified masked men and women on campus on 5 January. There were instant protests against the violence in various parts of the country the following day.

    In India’s financial capital, Mumbai, people came out Monday night to protest against the violent attack at New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University; the event was attended by Bollywood celebrities.

    While many were there to support dozens of people, including students, teachers and guards, who were injured after masked men and woman, wielding sticks, rods and sledgehammers, broke into the JNU on 5 January, a video and images of a girl holding a poster with ‘Free Kashmir’ written on it in the middle of the protests have triggered a controversy both online and beyond.

    ​Former Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis of India’s governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) questioned the provincial ruling coalition – Shiv Sena and Congress, for allowing what he deemed an anti-India campaign in the state capital.  

    ​The ‘Free Kashmir’ phrase has been used by those supporting the region's independence from India since long before the region lost its semi-autonomy in August 2019. While some read it and hailed it as a sign of protest against the five-month long communication clampdown in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir that was imposed following New Delhi's revocation of the state's decades-old special status, it was condemned for its divisive connotation by others.

    Mumbai Police said on Tuesday that they “have taken serious cognisance of the 'Free Kashmir' poster seen in the protest last night at Gateway of India. We are definitely investigating it.”

    The protesters from outside Gateway of India have been relocated to Azadi Maidan by police. Police said the protest was causing a road blockade, adding to the city's perennial traffic woes.

    ​The Indian federal government had revoked Article 370 of Indian Constitution to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status in early August 2019; ever since, the territory has been under a communication clampdown, though it was partially lifted later on.

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    Tags:
    Bharatiya Janata party (BJP), protests, Mumbai, Jammu and Kashmir, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India
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