The Delhi Police on Tuesday detained a group of people, including students, who participated in a candle-light procession near the Jamia Millia Islamia University to mark the one year anniversary of the violence that broke out on the campus last year on December 15.
Activist Umar Khalid’s mother and younger sister were among those who were detained, Khalid’s father Syed Qasim Ilyas told Scroll.in. Ilyas said a small group of women and students was holding a small candle-light march in the Batla House locality, when the police arrived and took them away to an undisclosed location.
He said he visited three police stations, but all of them had turned him away, saying they did not know about his wife and daughter’s whereabouts. “First there was news that they are in Lajpat Nagar police station, so I went there,” Ilyas said. “But they were not there. Then they told me to go to New Friends Colony station. But they were not there either.”
A few hours later, Ilyas received a call from his family, informing him that they had been released. “They are at the Jamia Nagar station,” he said.
Activist Anirban Bhattacharya said there had been heavy deployment of police around the Jamia University for the past few days. “It was particularly heavy today morning [Tuesday] on the day of the anniversary,” he said.
On December 15, violence had broken out near the Jamia Millia Islamia University after a march by students to protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act ended in a pitched battle with the police. Buses were set on fire, and several students and police officers were injured.
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. CCTV from the university showed Delhi Police personnel assaulting students in a reading hall.
On December 11, 2019, Parliament passed amendments to the Citizenship Act that sparked an unprecedented nationwide protest movement against the legislation and other government policies that discriminate against Muslims and violate Constitutional norms.