A Delhi Police inquiry into violence during the protests against the amended Citizenship Act at New Friends Colony on December 15 has found that three bullets were fired by two of its personnel, The Indian Express reported. The investigation, initiated by officials of the Southeast district police, claimed that the bullets were fired in front of another official at the rank of an assistant commissioner of police.
Following reports of protesting students of Jamia Millia Islamia University being treated for gunshot wounds, the Delhi Police had claimed that no bullets were fired during the episode. Two students were identified as Ajaz Ahmad, a 22-year-old BA student, and Shoaib Khan, a 23-year-old student from the Jamia. A third student was identified as Mohd Taimin. Ahmad and Khan were admitted to Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital while Taimin received treatment at Holy Family Hospital.
The violence broke out on December 15 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.
“The Southeast district police identified the personnel as well as the ACP, and it was confirmed that firing had, in fact, taken place,” an unidentified official told the newspaper. The police officials had reportedly said that they had fired in “self-defence” when some of the demonstrators had allegedly become violent.
Statements from police officials were recorded in the case diary of the Southeast district police. However, the one that mentions police firing is yet to be sent to the Crime Branch Special Investigation Team, which began leading the inquiry on December 16. The SIT is looking into 10 cases of rioting on the directives of Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik.
Two first information reports filed in relation to the violence at Jamia Nagar and New Friends Colony neighbourhoods of the national Capital do not mention police firing. Deputy commissioner of Police (Southeast) Chinmoy Biswal on Saturday refused to comment on the matter as the inquiry is ongoing.
Meanwhile, the three Jamia students were discharged after being treated. “Both patients have been discharged after being successfully treated at the hospital,” Safdarjung Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Sunil Gupta said. “Whatever foreign body was pulled out of their bodies has been sent to Delhi Police. Our role is to just provide basic treatment to the patient.”
Holy Family Hospital Director Father George PA added that the police will look into whether the “foreign body” was a bullet or a teargas shell.
At least 26 people have died in nationwide protests against the amended citizenship law and the proposed NRC. The Citizenship Amendment Act, approved 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. The Act has been widely criticised for excluding Muslims.