The Congress on Sunday blamed the Bharatiya Janata Party government for the attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University students by masked miscreants, terming it a "state-sponsored mayhem", with Rahul Gandhi saying that it was a "reflection of fear" that "fascists in control of our nation" have of the students.
"The brutal attack on JNU students and teachers by masked thugs, that has left many seriously injured, is shocking. The fascists in control of our nation, are afraid of the voices of our brave students. Today's violence in JNU is a reflection of that fear," Gandhi said in a tweet.
Violence broke out at JNU on Sunday night as masked men armed with sticks attacked students and teachers and damaged property on the campus, prompting the administration to call in police.
At least 18 people were injured and admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.
JNU Students' Union president Aishe Ghosh suffered a head injury.
The Left-controlled JNUSU and the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad blamed each other for the violence that continued for nearly two hours.
In a tweet, Congress' chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, "Students beaten up in JNU. Teachers beaten up in JNU. Goons vandalising women's hotel. Brutality and beatings unleashed. No Police anywhere, No JNU Administration! Is this how Modi Govt seeks revenge against students and youth?"
"Enmity of Modi Govt to JNU is well known. Delhi Police is at the gate of JNU. Despite this, goondas brandishing lathis & rods beat up students and teachers in Sabarmati & other hostels. Is this state sponsored mayhem being unleashed(sic)?" he posed in another tweet.
Surjewala wondered what "animosity" does the Narendra Modi government have against students and the youth of the country as "they were earlier attacked during their agitation to save the constitution and this time for protesting against hostel fee hike".
"All limits have been crossed now after armed goons entered the JNU campus and attacked the students, teachers as well as the JNUSU president," the Congress spokesperson said.
"What is the Delhi police which is under (Home Minister) Amit Shah doing? PM Modi and Shah should not persecute the youth and students so much that the entire nation stands up against this government. Arrest the goons and take action against them, otherwise what will happen to the future of the country?," he said.
Congress leader P Chidambaram said it is shocking and horrifying to see live telecast of "masked men entering JNU hostels and attacking students" and alleged that such an "act of impunity can only happen with the support of the government".
"What we are seeing on Live TV is shocking and horrifying. Masked men enter JNU hostels and attack students. What is the Police doing? Where is the Police Commissioner?" the former finance minister tweeted.
"If it is happening on live TV, it is an act of impunity and can only happen with the support of the government. This is beyond belief," he wrote on the microblogging site.
Senior Congress spokesperson Anand Sharma said, "The violent attack on students and faculty by organised gangs of thugs and lumpen elements is outrageous and unacceptable."
"Democracy cannot be held hostage by fascist forces. Delhi Police should do its duty. Urging all democratic forces to rally and rise for JNU and democracy," he said.
Congress general secretary K C Venugopal said that after Jamia Millia Islamia and Aligarh Muslim University, now JNU was "under attack".
"The miscreants supported by the regime at the Centre is turning our prestigious universities into battlefields. BJP-sponsored violence being unleashed on innocent students to silence and terrify them" he alleged.