Skip to main content

Jamia: Inquiry commission sought on 'excessive, unauthorised' use of police force

Counterview Desk
A six-member team of the People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR), which conducted a four-day fact-finding from December 16 to 19 into the incidents at the campus of the Jamia Milia Islamia on December 13 and 15, has sharply criticized the Delhi police’s “combative and communal treatment” of the student protesters against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019, passed by Parliament on December 11.
Asserting that PUDR investigations suggest “a picture of police terror” and police “as a lawless force” seeking to “quell dissent”, the report, based on interviews with students, teaching and non-teaching staff, doctors, injured students and their parents, local residents and eyewitnesses, says that its use of force inside the campus “was entirely unauthorized and unjustified” .
The PUDR team saw “broken locks, empty tear-gas shells, broken windows and furniture, blood on the floor, among many other visible signs of the destruction” on the campus” as a result of the crackdown on December 15, the report says, adding this was preceded by “a similar crackdown December 13, when the police “attempted to stop a rally comprising thousands of students and residents of neighbouring areas from marching to Parliament street.”
“The Delhi police used unauthorized and excessive force to restrain the rally from proceeding further through indiscriminate lathi-charging, teargasing and destruction of public property in and around campus”, the report says, adding, “The crackdown on December 15 was an escalation of the same strategy ... to overpower students through indiscriminate force.”
“Apart from confirmed bullet injuries and the use of approximately 400 tear gas shells, injuries were predominantly on the head, face or legs, showing intent to maim or cause maximum damage”, the report notes, pointing towards how the police “forcefully entering campus by breaking locks at gates, assaulting guards, breaking CCTV cameras, proceeding to indiscriminately lathi-charge, tear-gas, beat up, communally abuse and humiliate every single person – men and women alike.”
During the anti-CAA protests, the report says, till December 23, about 1,500 persons were detained in Delhi at Jamia (December 13 and 15), Arts Faculty Delhi University (December 17), Red Fort and Mandi House (19 December 19), UP Bhawan (21 and 23 December) and Assam Bhawan (December 23).
Also, there were “targeted attacks at Muslim neighbourhoods were seen at Seelampur-Jaffrabad, Daryaganj and Seemapuri (December 20), the most brutal being at Daryaganj where a dozen minors were detained at until 3 am, with denial of medical and legal aid.

Text of PUDR’s major findings:

The crackdown on students on December 13, 2019 by the Delhi police forms the backdrop to the incidents of December 15, 2019. The decision by the Delhi Police to disallow students from conducting a march to Parliament on 13 December was immediately followed by the use of brute force in the form of an excessive and indiscriminate lathi charge. Far from being limited to pushing students behind the police barricade, it was aimed at causing injury to the protesters.
The police force caused wanton damage to vehicles parked nearby, and reportedly detained around 50 students. Far from dissuading students from protesting against the CAA, this action ensured larger presence of students and of other residents from the neighbourhood of the University in subsequent protests. The massing of police forces closer to the campus set the stage for a more violent attack.
The Delhi police used excessive force against students and protestors outside and inside the university campus on December 15, 2019. The police action from its start near the Mathura Road was ruthless. We found no evidence of any attempt to make announcements asking the protestors to halt or to retreat. Use of lathi-charge and tear gas was unrelenting and cruel, continuing well after the crowds had already started to disperse.
Protesters who were retreating were attacked and those who were injured were subject to further assault. The use of firearms with live rounds by the police is without authorisation and without the necessary safeguards. More serious is the attempt by senior police functionaries to deny and to obfuscate this serious transgression.
Delhi police and paramilitary forces launched unprovoked and brutal attacks on students and staff in the library, mosque, and other parts of the university campus. The entry of the police into the campus is without authorisation and even without informing the University authorities, failures that cannot be justified by statements that the police was chasing protestors. In this fashion the police has precluded the necessary presence of a University official to accompany the police party.
The destruction of CCTV cameras by the police force at the gate, inside the campus, and at the library and reading rooms is clear evidence of the intention of the police force to indulge in actions that are prohibited and amount to criminal offences. The attacks on guards, students, the imam and other employees inside the campus was indiscriminate.
Everyone that the police could lay their hands on was subject to severe beating with the police lathi, amid a barrage of communal abuses against Muslims and Kashmiris. Widespread use of tear gas affected everyone in the campus.
The entry into the library, reading room and masjid; and the attack on the students there; marks a deliberate choice of targeting persons unconnected with the protest demonstration and those attempting to protect themselves from a savage police attack. The extent of cruelty shown by the police is wholly unacceptable. 
Lack of a students' union at Jamia implies that there is no official body that takes responsibility of, plans, controls and directs protest demonstrations
People were attacked with lathis specifically on the head, face and on the anterior side of the legs. The force used was sufficient to cause deep gashes and bone fractures, and the nature of injuries make clear that they were intended to cause maximal damage. Thus, incapacitated students were further maltreated by leading to additional injuries. This onslaught appears to have been orchestrated to only terrorize the university and neighbouring areas.

Illegal detentions and deliberate denial of medical help

The detentions were completely arbitrary. Many of the people injured in the police action were brought to the police stations. At least one account suggests that students were detained only on account of questioning the police. The detained were also prevented access to family members and lawyers for a long time.
When some people were permitted to visit those detained, all writing material and phones were taken away lest the detained sign a vakalatnama or photographs of their injuries get recorded while in police custody. Many of the detainees were seriously and gravely injured but as a rule, those detained were denied medical aid. Hospital could be accessed only when the detained were released or else when they were taken for the MLC to a hospital.
There are also instances of more deliberate action to block medical help to the injured. These include reports of injured receiving treatment being removed from hospital, ambulances being prevented from reaching the injured and those seeking medical help being intimidated.

Destruction of property

The day witnessed widespread damage and destruction of property, especially in the university library. The incidents of arson on public buses need to be investigated as reliable accounts are not forthcoming and contradictory evidence and statements abound.
Some persons from the protest rally are responsible for damage to private vehicles parked in the NFC area and arson on one motorcycle, while other protestors tried to restrain them from doing so to ensure peace and calm.
The police is responsible for damage to parked vehicles of students and other residents in and around the Jamia campus on 13 and 15 December. The police parties that entered the campus are also responsible for the destruction of CCTV cameras, window panes and other library property of the University as well as cell phones belonging to a number of students.
Facts gathered reveal significant cause for higher judiciary to take suo moto action against the Delhi police for brutalities. The scale and brutality of the attack by the police, the unauthorised entry into the University campus, the destruction and damage, as well as the disregard for norms and procedures is reason enough for the higher judiciary to take suo moto notice of the happenings and to issue appropriate directions to ensure medical relief and to enquire into the conduct of the police forces.
Both the Supreme Court and the High Court had the opportunity to do so, since the matter was brought before them, but both refused to intervene immediately. The Supreme Court stated that it is not a court of first instance for determination of facts, and the Delhi High Court adjourned the matter until February. 

Aggravating factors

The residents of the area surrounding the Jamia campus have a high degree of distrust of the police. The police have, on its part, provided reason on past occasions to earn this distrust. The spiteful verbal abuse noted in this report is a reflection of the same. This historical situation has certainly contributed to the barbarity by the police and to the stone pelting by the residents.
The conduct of the police on December 15 can only reinforce the mistrust. The lack of a students' union at Jamia implies that there is no official body that takes responsibility of, plans, controls and directs protest demonstrations. It also means that there is no student representative in communication with the police. This lacuna could easily hamper any attempt to prevent matters getting out of hand.

PUDR demands:

  1. That the right of citizens to protest must be recognized as inalienable and the practice of routine refusal to grant permission must be stopped.
  2. That an FIR should be registered against the police for brutal use of force inside the campus in Jamia Millia Islamia. 
  3. That a Commission of Inquiry be instituted to examine the unauthorised, unjustified and excessive use of force and wanton acts of destruction by the Delhi Police. 
  4. That the police personnel to be posted at police stations in the Jamia area need to be sensitized to counter a communal outlook and to ensure civil behaviour as becoming of a public servant. The police personnel and officers who were part of the attack on students need to be shunted out of the police station without delay.
---
Click HERE for full report

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Examples of support to Hindu temples, scriptures, saints by 'Muslim' rulers galore

Siya Ram coin issued by Akbar By Bharat Dogra* At a time when the country as well as the world are passing through very difficult times leading to more urgent need for strengthening national unity for meeting several big challenges ahead, unfortunately disputes relating to religious places have been allowed to raise their ugly head once again. It is well-realized by now by many people that it is not historical facts but narrow considerations of political gain and spreading of fanatic ideas of intolerance which are behind such mischief, but due to the increasing threat of mob violence and patronage available at higher levels to groups spreading intolerance many people are reluctant to openly and fearlessly express their views. Hence there is urgent need for broad-based peace committees with wider social support to spread the message of communal harmony and to appeal against the dangers of spreading false messages regarding places of worship which can ultimate

Barefoot women solar engineers join farmers, 'rediscover' benefits of biodiversity

Leela Devi, Monica By Bharat Dogra*  At a time of increasing concern over climate change, contributions of several women, farmers and innovators have given reason for increasing hope in mitigation as well as adaptation work in villages of India. When Leela Devi was married in Tilonia village (Ajmer district of Rajasthan), she had not heard of solar energy. But making use of the existence of solar centre of the Barefoot College (BC) near her new home, she learnt adequate skills within a year to set up rural solar units and assemble solar lanterns. Later as India’s External Affairs Ministry teamed up with BC to start an international program for training women in rural solar energy systems, Leela teamed up with other friends from BC to form a team of trainers. A training programme has been designed for training women as barefoot solar engineers. When I visited the Tilonia campus (before the training program was temporarily discontinued due to COVID) , a group of women (several of them Gr

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Himalayan tragedy: Labour laws for migrant workers violated at Ramganga dam site

By Bharat Dogra* The extremely tragic death of 10 workers at a tunnel construction site in Ramban on Jammu-Srinagar highway has again drawn attention to the serious hazards faced by workers employed in highways and dams in Himalayan region, several of them in very remote areas. These workers were trapped after a landslide hit the under-construction tunnel on May 19, followed later by one more landslide. Apart from these deaths, the remaining workers suffered injuries. While overall conditions at many such construction sites are known to be hazardous, according to preliminary reports the risks here increased due to sub-contracts which resulted in work being handled by those who did not have much experience or knowledge of such hazardous conditions. Sub-contracting is a common practice in such work and the principal employer gets away with less legal liability for hazardous conditions. Workers face more risks under this system and their rights are adversely affected. This

Why there's strong likelihood India may resurrect its presence in Afghan capital

By Anand K Sahay* Since India evacuated its mission in Afghanistan once the Taliban re-took Kabul last August practically under American aegis, following what came to be called the Taliban’s Doha “negotiations” with the US, New Delhi is evidently doing a re-think. It is considered likely that an Indian representation will soon be restored in Kabul, even if this will be small and not at the level of ambassador. This is reflective of realistic thinking. Of course, there can be no question at present of according recognition to the Taliban regime. That is likely to happen when a broad consensus amongst the leading powers emerges. Currently the Taliban government is not helping its own cause of gaining world recognition- which will help it access overseas funds at a time when the country is in dire straits- by imposing severe restrictions on women and girls in serious violation of human rights. More basic is the issue that the Taliban regime is not considered r

Dalit scholar's comment on Lord Shiva 'harming' Muslims, 'damaging' secular cause

Shahid Siddiqui, Bobby Naqvi By Our Representative   Bobby Naqvi, who is with the "Gulf News", and is a well-known name among Muslim intellectuals, strongly objecting to the social media post of Prof Ratan Lal, has said that "a big reason for majoritarian hatred against Muslims is irresponsible remarks by people like Prof Ratan Lal of Delhi University." In a Facebook comment , which has attracted paise, among others, from journaliat-politician Shahid Siddiqui, Naqvi said, "Their commentary on Hinduism and icons of Hinduism (while angering religious and liberal Hindus alike) also triggers a massive backlash against Muslims. When the likes of Prof Lal criticize Hinduism on social media, Hindus bring Islam and Islamic practices and ask 'what about this' or 'what about that'." Naqvi insists, "Muslims (without their fault) and Islam get caught in this crossfire between the so called Hindu liberal class and the religious Hindus. And the ult

Message to 'high caste' attackers? Dalit leader's daughter rides elephant in wedding march

By Our Representative  In what has been termed as “jumbo celebration”, a Gujarat Dalit rights leader belonging to Saurashtra region ensured that his daughter rides an elephant as part of wedding celebrations which took place in Vadhwan town of Surendranagar district. Natubhai Parmar, who shot into prominence for organising a unique protest against the notorious Una flogging incident in 2016, in which five Dalit boys were flogged as they allegedly slaughtered a cow. Belonging to the Rohit community, whose traditionally live by skinning dead cows, in 2016, Parmar reached Surendranagar district collector’s office with vehicles full of carcasses of cows asking him to organise them disposal of, declaring, his community had decided not to continue with the caste occupation, as it had been termed cow slaughter by saffron vigilantes. The decision to make his daughter ride the elephant, which he brought to Ahmedabad, was to send a message to members of the dominant castes, whose aggressive atta

Govt of India 'ignores' GMO regulation, 'overlooks' Constitutional process

Counterview Desk Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi, independent public policy expert, in a letter to Nareshpal Gangwar, additional secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), New Delhi, has expressed “seriously concern” that a recent office memorandum (OM) has sought to exempt certain types of gene-edited plants from the country's genetically modified organism  (GMO) regulations, without any reason or basis or representation. Dr Reddy regretted, “Such a serious decision, with an impact scale of unimaginable proportions, in terms of time and ecology, is being pushed through an ordinary office memorandum”, insisting, “This is circumvention of the processes enshrined in Indian Constitution, which has defined democratic participation in matters of critical importance.” Stating that the exemption from regulation is a policy decision and has legal implications, he demanded immediate withdrawal the OM, insisting, the government should take a "strong stand again

This varsity succumbed to extra-academic mobocracy, 'ignored' Hindutva archives

By Shamsul Islam* Open letter to Sharda University vice-chancellor Sub: Discarding a Question on Linkages of Hindutva with Nazism/Fascism is blatant Academic Dishonesty! Dear Professor Sibaram Khara Saheb, Namaskaar! According to your esteemed University’s portal: “The name of University, 'Sharda' is synonymous to 'Goddess of knowledge and learning-Saraswati'. She is identified with 'veena', an Indian musical instrument and the ‘lotus’, where she resides. The lotus in our logo symbolizes the seat of learning that the University is created for.  "Variety of colours signify the variety of disciplines the university offers and the overlap between petals creating new colours demonstrate the ethos of collaboration between students and teachers of different programme, nationality, creed and colour working towards creating new knowledge…the University's cherished mission to provide education beyond boundaries and to facilitate the students and faculty to achie