NEW DELHI: A young 14 year old boy emerges out of Daryaganj Police Station, shivering, his clothes soaked in blood. His father has been waiting outside for hours, panic stricken and helpless. The boy is one of 18 minors detained by cops, after lathicharge and water cannons were used on a crowd protesting the Citizenship Amendment Act in the area.

The boy had a visible head injury that will need further treatment. His medical report clearly specifies that the injuries were sustained “during protest at Delhi Gate.” But he adds that he was beaten inside the police station as well, in lock up. He says his pants were taken down, and they yelled slurs while beating him.

In total, 42 people were detained at Daryaganj Police Station. Other than the 18 minors, the remaining detainees are between 20-38 years old. 30-35 people were detained at Seemapuri Police Station. A lawyer on the ground told The Citizen that 11 people have since been arrested and charged with obstruction of justice and unlawful assembly. All detainees are largely from the Jama Masjid, Osmanabad areas.

Minors have now all been released, but lawyers say that police was ‘highly uncooperative’ and there were unnecessary delays and snags in trying to secure their release. Many had injuries, and some of the minors told the lawyers present that they were beaten in the lockup. The boys alleged that they were made to take off their pants, and a hot cloth was placed on their bodies while they were beaten.

The boys are scared, hesitant to speak to the media or anyone else. Several have sustained injuries that need further treatment. One of the boys said that he was not even part of the protest, but was picked up from the area nonetheless. He says he was beaten, and taken to the police station.

Lawyers on the spot say that they were only allowed to enter the police station after midnight, even though the protesters were detained at 6 pm. “They were without representation for six and half hours,” a lawyer told The Citizen.

Lawyers were allowed to enter after filing an application seeking a court’s direction to police to let advocates meet the detainees. “I deem it fit to direct SHO PS Daryaagnj to allow the detainee to meet their advocates in terms of Section 41D of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC),” the order said.

Another challenge was in getting the police to provide the medical reports to the parents of minors. These medical reports clearly specify that injuries had been sustained during the lathicharge. “The police was initially trying not to give the medical receipts,” a lawyer on the spot told The Citizen. “We had to push them and remind them to give it, quoting the law.”

There was also an attempt by the police to get parents of minors to sign a statement saying that their child had been released in sound condition. “We did not let the parents sign these statements. We made sure they got the medical receipts,” the lawyer said.

Other eyewitnesses confirm that there was chaos at the stations - as parents gathered outside, unable to locate their children. “I met a parent whose 15 year old boy was missing. It took us one hour to locate the child, as there was just so much confusion at the station,” an eyewitness said.

Meanwhile, crowds swelled outside the police headquarters at ITO, demanding that detainees be released. The detainees will be produced before a District Magistrate today. “Ideally, this should have been done at night… but the police was highly uncooperative,” a lawyer told The Citizen.