THE CITIZEN BUREAU | 15 DECEMBER, 2019
Brutal Police Crack Down on Jamia Students Inside the Campus
NEW DELHI: Delhi Police unleashed a wave of terror on the Jamia Millia campus this evening, rushing in after firing a volley of tear gas shells in a bid to flush out the students from the university. The attack was brutal according to eyewitnesses, with students trapped in the Urdu library sending out audio and video messages for help.
They are firing at us, they are using bullets and tear gas, the young students shouted over the phones urging whoever they could get for immediate “help.” The panic is visible in the short clip below, with the students fearing for their lives. At least 100 have been detained and taken to different police stations.
The attack followed a clash between protestors and the police, from Mathura road into the posh Friends Colony. Videos of young people pelting stones and running from the police in the South Delhi colony’s bylanes have gone viral over the social media. The protests were against the Citizenship Amendment Act but were not part of the Jamia students ongoing demonstrations. The Jamia students issued a note saying that they were in no way responsible for the incidents of violence on the roads, and the persons involved were not from the University.
Buses and some vehicles were set on fire. Protestors said the police, but a video clip that again went viral on the social media that seems to have become a source of news for the Delhi incidents, seemed to tell a different story. Some television channels claimed that the protestors were from a anti-CAA rally held by the Aam Aadmi Party. The video below has not been authenticated by The Citizen although it is in wide circulation.
Girl students reported attacks and molestation in their hostels, saying that the police had entered on the pretext of looking for male students. Girls were crying hysterically, huddled together with many needing medical attention after the ordeal.
The entire night was spent by Delhi civil society activists and lawyers in rushing from the police station to the hospitals. Even as students and civil society gathered in large numbers outside the Police headquarters to protest the brutal attack, appeals for lawyers were sent out and scores responded. Activists found that the police had detained seriously injured students in the police stations as well and were refusing to take them to hospital for urgent treatment.
Lawyers in a statement said saying that a student inside the police station said he had a heart proble, was simply studying at the Urdu library when they were attacked. “He identified himself as Chandan Singh and requested that the CCTV cameras in the library and campus would reveal the CRPF and Delhi police being violent. All students agreed with him. Later Chandan had fits, fell off from the chair where he was offered food and started gasping for breath …” the statement to the media said. It was only then that the Delhi Police allowed him to be taken to the hospital.
The statement further said that the police stormed the campus, entered the womens hostels, many said they had sexually misbheaved with them, and the boys tried to hide in the washrooms but they were attacked there. Incidentally unverified videos are in circulation of students lying badly injured in washrooms where the mirrors and sinks have been destroyed allegedly in the police action.
The statement signed by former IAS officer and now activist Harsh Mander and advocate Chaudhrary Ali Zia Kabir firther said that lights were switched off by the police before specific assault. “Whenever lights were switched off sexual abuse was shocking,” the statement read. It further added that this was also to prevent CCTV cameras from recording the footage.
Finally, as the protests intensified in Delhi and the lawyers and activists refused to give up the detained students were released and taken to hospital for urgent treatment. Students said they were directly fired on with rubber bullets along with tear gas shells and the free and brutal use of lathis.
Photographs of blood stains and broken property in the Urdu library after the police onslaught are being shared on social media. Students told The Citizen they were not involved in the arson incidents, insisting that this was all a “conspiracy” to malign the students. There was palpable fear and terror on the campus, with not a single person in authority visible. As a result rumours spread with lightning speed, with no one present to confirm or deny these. Students have been dragged to different police stations with their guardians running around for their release, but not being allowed inside.
A student said that the police action “on us as if we were some terrible enemies and not just students claiming our right to protest. Surely a peaceful protest is allowed, but look what they have done to us.”
The students and police have been confronting each other for almost two days now, with the authorities stepping in to close the University and postpone the examinations. Journalists were also attacked, with a woman scribe saying that her phone was broken, she was manhandled and abused by the police.
Meanwhile a video that has gone viral over the social media and has invited widespread condemnation:
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