A 22-year-old student of Jawaharlal Nehru University has alleged that he was assaulted by two Central Industrial Security Force personnel following an argument over security check at Delhi’s Rajiv Chowk Metro station on Thursday evening.
Aman Sinha, who is studying for a post graduate degree in modern history, claimed that one of the CISF men also abused him and threatened to send him to Pakistan, apparently mistaking him to be a Muslim after learning his first name. The man grew more aggressive, he further alleged, once he came to know that Sinha was a JNU student.
JNU has become a punching bag for right-wing groups since three students, including then president of the university students’ union, were arrested on charges of sedition for allegedly raising anti-national slogans at an event commemorating the death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in February 2016.
The CISF, which is entrusted with Delhi Metro’s security, has ordered an enquiry into Thursday’s incident.
At around 6.30 pm on Thursday, Sinha and his sister, a student at Delhi University, entered the metro station in Central Delhi after participating in a protest at Jantar Mantar. The argument began when a CISF constable asked Sinha to remove his earphones during the security check and return to the end of the queue. The constable was rude and called him ill-mannered, Sinha alleged. At this, Sinha asked him to speak politely.
At most Delhi Metro stations, notice boards ask commuters to remove their earphones and refrain from using their mobile phones during security check.
“There was a long queue behind me and the other commuters also asked the CISF man not to make an issue of it,” said Sinha. “But he confronted me again when I was waiting near one of the AFC [automated fare collection] gates for my sister, which ensued into an argument and soon another CISF man joined him.”
“They asked me what I did,” Sinha recounted. “When I said I was a student at JNU, they started abusing me. Mostly it was about how the university had tarnished the image of our country. Then one of them asked my name. I said Aman. He insisted I tell them my full name. When I refused, he assumed I was a Muslim and started abusing me saying they [the two CISF men] will send me to Pakistan. Probably my unkempt beard and kurta contributed to their impression.”
Aman said the personnel then took him to a reserved area, where they slapped and punched him in the presence of some metro employees. He was in tears by the time they took him to their officer, who asked him to write an apology to the Station Control Officer. Sinha wrote: “I apologise for the hot talk with CISF staff in metro station. In future, I will not indulge in such kind of activity.” Sinha said he wrote the apology because he was terrified.
According to Raghubir Lal, CISF’s deputy inspector general (Delhi Metro), they have examined footage from multiple CCTV cameras but found no evidence of physical assault so far. In the footage from one camera, though, the CISF constable could be seen trying to push Sinha. “But the student too was visibly aggressive, trying to escape,” Lal said. “If only the cameras could capture the audio too.”
Lal, however, did not rule out the possibility of assault and verbal abuse as many areas at metro stations (mostly zones prohibited for commuters) are not under CCTV surveillance. Sinha has alleged that he was assaulted in one such zone.
“Actually, two incidents took place at around the same time,” Lal said. “While the JNU student entered into a heated argument with a CISF constable at the security gate, another youth was detained at the metro station by another CISF officer after he was caught physically assaulting his girlfriend. Both of them were taken to the station control room and later released. We will now look out for the other youth too as he was privy to some part of the communication between the JNU student and the official who was taking him to the station control room.”
Asked what action the CISF was taking, Lal said, “A detailed enquiry has been ordered that is being monitored by a deputy commandant rank officer. Action will be taken on the basis of the enquiry report. We are questioning other officials at the metro station. At this stage, there is not enough evidence to take immediate action against the concerned personnel.”
Sinha, meanwhile, said a senior CISF officer called him on Friday for a statement explaining his version of the incident.