A special investigation team has asked the station house officers of police stations in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar area to provide duty rosters of December 15 when violence broke out after a protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday. The special investigation team was set up on Monday to conduct inquiries into videos that purportedly show Delhi Police personnel assaulting students inside the Jamia Millia Islamia University on the evening of December 15.
“As of now, we are collecting information about all police personnel deployed on December 15, and will later ask them to identify personnel seen in the footage,” an unidentified official told the newspaper. Senior officers at Delhi Police headquarters have been told that the footage could warrant first information reports against the personnel involved. “Before deciding to lodge an FIR, SIT officers are taking legal opinion and collecting technical evidence,” said an official.
Violence had erupted in the area around Jamia Millia Islamia university during an anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest march by the university’s students on December 15. The Delhi Police was accused of using excessive force to quell the demonstrations and of storming into the campus.
One of the videos, tweeted by the Jamia Coordination Committee – a group associated with the students of the university – 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 allegedly threw tear gas and barged into the campus, according to the Jamia Coordination Committee, which has been organising protests against the police violence.
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 purportedly seen breaking the door 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.
Scroll.in could not independently authenticate the videos.
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 Delhi Police have earlier claimed that its action on December 15 was justified as the protestors had allegedly injured its personnel and set buses on fire. The police have also said that some of the video footage appeared edited. “Sequence of events to be established,” Special Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Praveer Ranjan had said on Monday after the SIT was formed. “Crowd as seen at Jamia library in videos includes students as well as outsiders.”