The Delhi Police action during the crackdown in Jamia Millia Islamia University has triggered a controversy as questions are being raised about the possible use of live bullets, NDTV reported.
The medical superintendent of government-run Safdarjung Hospital said that two Jamia protestors who were admitted have sustained bullet injuries, in sharp contradiction to the police claims that they used “maximum restraint, minimum force” and did not use firearms.
The two students have been identified as Ajaz, a 22-year-old BA student, and Shoaib Khan, a 23-year-old student from the Jamia.
Ajaz was admitted to the general ward of the hospital, where two officials of the Delhi Police were deputed to keep a watch on visitors. His family told NDTV that he was shot in the chest during the violence on Sunday. They said Ajaz had no role in the protests.
However, when questioned about the Ajaz’s bullet injuries, Joint Commissioner of Police (Southern Range) Devesh Chandra Srivastava maintained that no bullets were fired. “There is a possibility that some protestors may have been hit by shrapnel from tear gas shells or gas grenades,” he told Hindustan Times. Srivastava claimed an injury from tear gas shrapnel can be mistaken for a bullet injury during initial medical examination.
Medical Superintendent Sunil Gupta said it was not clear who shot Ajaz or what happened in the protest. “He is currently in the Intensive Care Unit with a chest tube,” he said, adding that his condition was stable.
Meanwhile, Khan is reported to have sustained a fracture of the metatarsal bone in his foot and underwent surgery to recover on Monday. Police said he too sustained injuries from tear gas shrapnel.
Reports also said a third student was admitted with bullet injuries to Holy Family Hospital. But hospital authorities denied this and claimed the discharge report mentioned a “gunshot injury” as the patient had told them so, according to The Indian Express. The hospital director told NDTV that what was removed from the wound was not a bullet but “a foreign object”.
The police said they will approach ballistic experts for more clarity on the matter.
Even as the police denied firing inside the campus, videos that emerged later in the evening showed policemen using rifles. However, it is not clear if they were using rubber bullets. Some students who spoke to Scroll.in said that they thought rubber bullets had been fired.
The police have been accused of using excessive force and even assaulting students.
The violence broke out on Sunday evening after a protest march by Jamia students ended in a pitched battle with the police. Buses were set on fire, and several students and police officers were injured.