The Delhi Police on Monday said it had set up a special investigation team to conduct inquiries into videos that reportedly show its personnel assaulting students on Jamia Millia University campus on the evening of December 15. The investigation was ordered after videos related to the police violence emerged over the weekend.
“Some videos have surfaced related to December 15 Jamia violence incident,” ANI quoted Special Commissioner of Police P Ranjan as saying. “SIT has been formed to investigate the matter. Sequence of events to be established. Crowd as seen at Jamia library in videos includes students as well as outsiders.”
One of the videos, tweeted by the Jamia Coordination Committee, shows the police entering the room – the Old Reading Hall on the first floor of the MA/MPhil section – and indiscriminately hitting students with sticks. After the incident, the police repeatedly denied entering the library.
The other video, also believed to be from the same evening, purportedly shows students hiding in a room. The students were reportedly taking cover after police personnel threw tear gas and stormed the campus, according to the Jamia Coordination Committee, which is a group associated with the students of the university. It has been organising protests against the police violence. Scroll.in could not independently authenticate the videos.
A third clip, released by a company called Maktoob Media, is an extended version of the second video. It shows people believed to be students barricading themselves in a room. The police are seen breaking it open, and thrashing the students even as several of them plead to be allowed to leave.
The footage shows police officials beating the students even as some protect their heads with bags. At the end of the video, a masked policeman is seen breaking a CCTV camera. “Many visuals of police brutality from old reading room of Jamia Millia Islamia University on December 15, 2019, accessed by Maktoob Media evidently shows police brutality,” the YouTube channel wrote in a note. “We reserve it considering the welfare and privacy of the students.”
A law student, who lost his eye in the library attack, told The Hindu that he had gone to the reading hall with a few of his friends around 2 pm. “We went downstairs for a while and then returned,” Mohammed Minhajuddin added. “We even have CCTV footage of this which we have submitted to the court.”
Minhajuddin said there was a lot of commotion after the police entered the campus. The door of the research scholars’ section of the library was latched after students took refuge there. “But they [police] banged the door several times, broke the latch and entered,” he added. The law student said the police fractured his fingers in the attack.
The Jamia student said he was undergoing treatment at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences and was trying to make sure his other eye does not get infected. He has also approached the Delhi High Court to seek compensation. Earlier in the day, the High Court issued notices to the central government and the Delhi Police after hearing a plea moved by another injured student.
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 assaults 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 Jamia, and inspired similar neighbourhood demonstrations across India that are still going on.