A group associated with the students of New Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University tweeted a CCTV footage on Saturday that appears to show Delhi Police personnel assaulting students in a reading hall in the university on the evening of December 15. A law student had lost his eye in the attack.
The police have repeatedly denied the incident. Scroll.in could not independently verify the video tweeted by the Jamia Coordination Committee. It carries the watermark of the Mehfil-e-Jamia Twitter account, which seems to have acquired the footage.
The video shows the police entering the room – the Old Reading Hall on the first floor of the MA/MPhil section, according to the Jamia Coordination Committee – at 6.08 pm on December 15, and indiscriminately hitting students with sticks. This came hours after violence had broken out in the area close to the institution during an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest march by the university’s students. The police were accused of using excessive force to quell the demonstrations, and storming the campus. The police claimed its action was justified as the protestors had allegedly injured its personnel and set buses on fire.
The Jamia Coordination Committee also released a statement along with the video, reported India Today. “The CCTV footage shows the brutal act of police forces and how the state-sponsored terrorists are playing the game of brutality on the students of Jamia who were preparing for their examination inside the Old Reading Hall of Library,” it said.
The university has noted the footage shared by the committee, and said it seemed like the video was taken in the library of the MPhil and PhD section, Ahmad Azeem, the university’s public relations officer told ANI. However, the institution disassociated itself from the video and clarified that it did not release it. “This is to clarify that the JCC is not an official body of the university,” Azeem said, according to PTI. “Any communication from the JCC should not be taken as [a] version of the university.”
Meanwhile, Delhi Police Special Commissioner (Crime) Praveer Ranjan said they were aware of the “latest video” and an inquiry will be conducted. The police also questioned how the students inside the library were peacefully studying despite the chaos around the university.
Another video, believed to be from December 15, purportedly shows the students hiding inside a room. The students were reportedly taking cover after police personnel threw tear gas and lathicharged in the campus, News18 reported, citing the Jamia Coordination Committee.
“...students hid in the room and dragged the desk to the door to ensure they remain safe,” the committee said. “Students also later switched off the lights and made SOS calls. This has already been stated in statement given by students to NHRC.” The university’s students reportedly hid in washrooms and locked doors to keep police personnel out.
The police violence at Jamia was followed by similar action a few hours later by the Uttar Pradesh Police at Aligarh Muslim University. These police actions sparked a nationwide protest against the government’s citizenship initiatives. A few days later, a sit-in against the law and police violence started at Shaheen Bagh, a locality close to the university, and inspired similar neighbourhood demonstrations across India that are still going on.
In January, the Jamia administration assured students it would register a first information report against the Delhi Police for entering the campus without permission, and also move court.