The Uttar Pradesh Police has registered a case against 10,000 unidentified students of the Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, Navbharat Times reported on Saturday. However, Aligarh Senior Superintendent of Police Akash Kulhary said that a case has been registered against 1,000, not 10,000 students. He attributed the difference to a clerical error.
The case against the students has been filed under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1932, and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, for offences like rioting and risking the life of others, Times Now reported. The students had been protesting against the amendments to the Citizenship Act, and in solidarity with the protestors at the Jamia Millia Islamia University in Delhi.
The case was registered based on a complaint by the Commandant 104 Battalion of the Central Reserve Police Force. The first information report, filed on December 24, mentions that over 10,000 students had assembled around the Aligarh Muslim University circle on December 15 to protest.
“They unlawfully raised anti-national slogans,” the FIR read. “The students then pelted stones on the personnel and also vandalised the official vehicles.” The FIR added that the police were directed to use minimum force to disperse the students. “When they did not disperse, tear gas and less intensity lathi-charge [baton charge] was done,” it said.
The Hindu had reported on Friday that only 1,200 students had been booked. Akash Kulhary told the newspaper that he would look into the matter. “Our stance has not changed, we are not against peaceful protest,” he said. “Even today, we have reports that some students are taking out a march inside the campus. If the complaint is not reasonable, we will revoke it.”
Police action against students during protests?
However, a fact-finding report on the violence at the Aligarh Muslim University on December 15 had found that law-enforcement officials fired stun grenades, “usually used in war-like situations or terror operations”, against students and shouted “chilling slogans like Jai Shri Ram while attacking the students and setting ablaze their scooters and vehicles”. The report alleged that not only did the college administration fail to protect the students, it actually “invited the police forces and their weapons into the campus”.
Protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act began at the Jamia Millia Islamia University on December 14, and then spread to the rest of the country. So far, at least 25 people have been killed in clashes between the police and the protestors, 18 of them in Uttar Pradesh alone. At least 14 of the 18 deaths were caused due to firearm injuries.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11, provides citizenship to refugees from six minority religious communities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan, provided they have lived in India for six years and entered the country by December 31, 2014. It has been widely criticised as being discriminatory for excluding Muslims.