We have always been told that the police are for our safety and protection. They are the ones we are supposed to go when we face harassment or violence. So where do we go when we find ourselves in the centre of violence aggravated by the police itself.
Police action on Jamia University students
Same was the dilemma faced by the students of Jamia Millia Islamia on 15th December when the Delhi police led a crackdown on the students. Students of Jamia were seen protesting against CAA and NRC ever since it was passed in both the parliaments, much alike the protests occurring in many other cities all over the country. When on the 15th students were out in the protest a bus was lit on fire after which all hell broke loose. when the violence started, student group of the university came forward and dissociated themselves from the violence during the protests. Police came after the students with all the force and barged into the university gates without any permission from the university administration and launched tear gas on the students inside the library.
Soon videos started coming up on social media by the students inside the university buildings showing the scene of a destructed, tear gas filled library with broken chairs, windows. One thing common in all the videos were the chilling cries of the students calling out for help saying that allegedly the police came inside the library and were ruthlessly beating them with batons. Many students claimed that the police beat up all the students even those who were not a part of the protest, but were just studying in the library. Videos also came forward showing brutally beaten up students soaked up in blood while some unconscious in the bathroom, which was also vandalized by the police as claimed by the students.
Students also claimed that aside from the callous physical violence, many police personals were also verbally abusing the students. Police made the students raise their hands above and walk out of the university gates (a traumatizing scene) after which around 50 students were detained at the police station of ‘Kalkaji’ and ‘New Friend’s Colony’. This brutal act of violence saw more than 100 students injured, including one student who has now permanently lost his eyesight in the left eye after a policeman charged a baton with force on his eye. He claims that he was not a part of the protest and was just studying in the library like many students as their exams were coming up.
Chief proctor of Jamia Millia Islmia, Waseem Ahmad Khan issued a statement saying,” police have entered the campus by force, no permission was given. Our staff and students are being beaten up and forced to leave the campus.” This disturbingly inhumane act by the police that left around 100 students injured, some more severe than the others, caused an uproar in the college students all over the country. In a matter of hours, the streets were filled with protesting students from colleges like JNU, IIT Bombay, BHU, TISS, and many more, condemning the police action against Jamia university students.
Police action on JNU attack
While everyone had been protesting against CAA/NRC/NPR, students of Jawaharlal Nehru University had an issue of their own. Since 28th October students of JNU had held numerous protests against the large-scale fee hike, especially the hostel fee. The fee hike was a major concern for many, as a large number of students come from low income groups, who will in no way be able to afford the hike. Through months of protests there had been instances of lathi-charge on the protesting students by the police, but what took place on 5th January, was beyond the imagination of the students and the rest of the world.
A violent mob of around 100 masked men and women carrying rods and lathis entered the campus. Once they reached at Sabarmati T-point, the mob started attacking the students and teachers alike. After which they moved into the Sabarmati hostel breaking down the glass doors. Soon many students started sharing live videos from inside the hostel. Students claimed that the mob belonged to ABVP and were allegedly targeting rooms of Kashmiri and minority students. They were beating up students with iron rods and destroyed their rooms. First image that was shared of an injured student was of Aishe Ghosh, president of JNUSU, who appeared to be bleeding from her head. Later in her statement she said that she was secluded and beaten with iron rods for nearly a minute. She was thrown on the ground but somehow was rescued by JNU students and then was taken to AIIMS.
While all this was happening inside the campus, you might wonder where the police were. What makes this scenario more bizarre than it already was that a police force was standing outside the campus. All the while students were calling for help. Many students claim that they had been calling the police ever since the mob entered the campus but they didn’t come for the rescue.
The same Delhi police that no more than three weeks ago wasted no time and stormed a university campus unleashing violence on the students, why was it now that they were acting as mute spectators and watched as the violent mob kept on brutally attacking the students and teachers? When asked about their lack of action, they said that they didn’t have the permission from the university administration to enter the campus. Despite the polar opposite course of action taken by the police, one thing that remained common was the anger of the students towards the police. Criticizing the police on both occasions, students couldn’t help but feel the biasness of police while taking a stand.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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