Yusuf Ansari, TwoCircles.net
An old adage goes ‘To hide one lie. Several other lies must be produced.” This is exactly what the Delhi Police is now resorting to. The student protest at Jamia Millia Islamia on December 15 that was met with police violence and lathi charge inside the campus and library has now taken a sudden turn as police refuses to accept the truth and continues producing a new reason daily to justify their brutality on peacefully protesting students. The latest they have come up with is, police had to enter the campus to save the “innocent students.”
In exactly these words, Delhi police has given justification for entering the campus and unleashing toughness on students in an Action Taken Report to the Metropolitan Magistrate.
The documented statement of police reads as “To control violence and maintain law and order situation, police was forced to enter the campus. Inside the university, the police detained 52 students as per Section 65 of Indian Penal Code while trying to handle violence…In order to save the innocent students from the ongoing violence inside the campus, police was required to enter the university.”
The court had given the same reply in a petition filed by the students while registering an FIR against police brutality. Lawyer Asghar Khan had filed the petiotion seeking report on racial abuses on students, other than physical attacks. The petition also demanded inquiry into breaking tear gas shells inside the library on students who were not involved in protests and were simply reading inside the room.
This white lie of the police, however, stands no chance in front of the shocking CCTV footage that clearly shows police mishandling students, lathi charging them, damaging library property, and even breaking CCTVs. Surprisingly, the police had initially denied having entered the library but this latest statement of trying to protect students is shameless. None of the video footages taken on December 15 show even one police officer trying to protect or save the innocent students inside the campus. Rather they were busy pelting stones and exerting maximum force on peaceful protestors, even those who hadn’t participated in the protests and were going about their daily routine inside the university.
This incident is closely connected with the violence that sprung out of control in the national Capital on December 15 during the anti CAA protests. The student protestors were also accused of burning three buses on the streets during the day as a result of which police says it took action to enter the campus. Jamia students have denied all allegations of inciting or participating in these violent incidents that day. Despite the denials, police did not stop from wreaking havoc inside the university.
Chief Proctor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Waseem Ahmed Khan had immediately issued a statement that Delhi Police entered the campus that evening without any official permission and not only thrashed students but also paraded them outside the gates like criminals. Vice Chancellor Najma Akhter had subsequently sought query into police violence inside the university.
In the statement of Action Taken Report, police has also said that a mob of violent protestors were on a breaking spree inside the campus and they had broken lights by using petrol bombs due to which police had to resort to lathi charge to control the violence. Since there was no electricity, police had to evacuate the students by force and they were merely doing their duty by emptying library of the readers. This is just another lie in its series of changing statements the police has been making since Day 1.
All the faces are clearly visible in the CCTV footage obtained from that day but neither the police has recognized any violent protestor nor has it registered an FIR against those it claims of inciting violence. This is because, no one from the violent mob was a student of Jamia, as police has already said in a previous statement.
After two days of the violence, on December 17, police had claimed as having arrested 10 people in relation to the incident. What is shocking is, none of these are students. All of the arrested in fact, have past criminal records. These were men from around Okhla and Jamia but none of them were students or in any way linked to the university.
The CCTV footage from December 15 was released in social media very recently by the Jamia Coordination Committee. Jamia Administration, amid all of this, has been continuously demanding action against police brutality. VC Najma Akhter has said despite available records and proofs, court has neither talked about FIRs nor shown any action in punishing those responsible. Delhi Police maintains that complaints and petitions lodged by students are of general nature and they are being looked after by the court. However, what is easily understandable from the above is, police is tampering with proofs and statements hence hindering the judicial process of inquiry.