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"Jamia Turned Jallianwala Bagh": Shocking accounts of police brutality

Tension in Jamia Millia Islamia escalated Sunday evening after Delhi Police Personnel stormed the campus

Monday December 16, 2019 11:45 AM, Hena Farhat, ummid.com

Delhi Police Jamia Millia

New Delhi: It was as if we are Jallianwala Bagh, being indiscrimantely targeted and fired by "General Dyers" of the day, a number of students said while recalling the chilling accounts of Delhi Police brutality inside Jamia Millia Islamia Campus Sunday.

"A university should be a hub of peace and knowledge. However, what we experienced today gave the feeling that we are not in any educational institution. The police brutality was the brazen glimpses of what we read about Jallianwala Bagh in history books", a student said while talking to media persons.

Tension in Jamia Millia Islamia escalated Sunday evening after Delhi Police Personnel stormed the campus without the necessary permission after some buses were set ablaze near the reputed university where students and locals were protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

Talking to the media, students said their protest was peaceful and it was not clear who and how the buses were set on fire. Many people of the locality, including Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, accused the police of staging the entire incident to justify the brutality against the Jamia students.

"Suddenly, we noticed tear gas shells being bombarded inside the campus. Soon afterwards, a large number of police personnel entered the campus. They beat students who were studying in the library, detained some from the mosque and fired at others who were inside the washroom", students said talking to media.

Police Brutality

"They also ransacked and damaged library furniture", the students alleged.

The students said the police indiscriminately detained male and female students, and paraded them with their hands up.

"Male policemen beat a number of girl students, even though they did not have any thing to do with the protest", they said.

"One of my friend has been taken into custody even though he was studying in the library since last three days when protests were held outside the campus. He was a civil services inspirant. But, police mercilessly beat him and took him into custody", a student said.

Delhi police denied all allegations. But, videos and photos of the police action against the Jamia students went viral and JNU students union (JNUSU) called for an emergency protest demo in front of the Delhi police headquarters.

Replying to the JNUSU protest call hundreds of students of Jamia Millia, JNU, DU, AIIMS and other institutions thronged the Delhi Police Headquarters, ITO where they were also joined by parents of the students, former students, activists and politicians.

Anger against Delhi police simmered as reports came that Delhi police is not providing medical aid to the detained students who were injured and picked up from hospitals. Talking to the media some lawyers and parents also said they were also not allowed to meet their wards who were kept inside Kalkaji and New Friends Colony police stations.

"What can be more brutal than this? They are injured, some of them profusely bleeding and lying on the floor in this chilling cold without any medical aid," a parent said.

The angry mob gheraoed the Delhi Police HQ till early monring Monday and dispersed only after the detained students were released at about 04:30 am.

Strong show of unity

Delhi police action is condemned by rights activists, politicians, and by common people cutting across the religious lines and from different parts of the country.

“Muslims are not alone in this country. We will not let Article 14, 15 to be breached. The (Citizenship) Bill has been brought in to create a divide, and we will not let them divide this country,” Bhim Army chief Chandrashekhar Azad said while addressing the protesters outisde Delhi Police HQ.

IIT Mumbai Solidarity March

[Students of IIT Bombay march in solidarity with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. (Photo: Twitter/@srivatsayb)]

He termed the Delhi Police police action on Jamia students “a conspiracy by the Centre” and said people of this country would not tolerate this.

"The government wants to single out Muslims to fulfill their political agenda. The BJP government thinks non Muslims will not come to support Muslims in their fight against the CAA. The government should see that I am here in their support and along with me thousands of non-Muslims are also here", he said.

"Spoke to Hon'ble LG and urged him to take all steps to restore normalcy and peace", Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote on Twitter while condemning the Delhi police action.

"We are also doing everything possible at our end. Real miscreants who caused violence shud be identified and punished," he wrote in another tweet.

"Shocked to see visuals of brutal attacks on students in Jamia Millia and Aligarh Muslim University. Every drop of blood spilled will need to be answered for in the days to come. BJP Govt must reconsider #CAA2019 in the face of widespread, continuous protests.#BJPburningDelhi", DMK Chief MK Stalin wrote on Twitter.

Jamia protest spread to other universities

As the videos and photos of police brutality inside the Jamia Millia campus spread, students from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), Banaras Hindu Univesrity (BHU), IIT Bombay, Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) Hyderabad, Jadavpur University Kolkata, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Kannur, Kerala took to the streets in solidartity march for Jamia students.

AMU students also staged protest against the police crackdown on students in Jamia Millia in Delhi.

In response to the protest, cops used tear gas shells and lathi-charged the protesting students. Videos of policemen breaking and damaging the motorbikes parked outside the AMU campus also ran on TV screens.

Planned attack on Education

Meanwhile, All India forum of save education forum calls for students strike in Delhi on Monday.

"All India forum of Save Education condemns the barbaric act by Delhi Police on the students of Jamia. In a shameful manner, the central government has unleashed violence on people who are protesting against the divisive communal Citizenship Amendment Act", the forum said in a statement.

"Let it be Jawaharlal Nehru University or Jamia Milia Islamia Delhi, students have been met with unimaginable state violence. Unprovoked lathi-charge, tear gas firing, the open firing had made hundreds of students injured and many of them are in critical condition", it said.

"We believe this is a planned attack on education to further silence people who are holding an opposite view with the government. Educational institutions can not be turned into a military occupied zone. The internal democracy and the right to free speech have to be upheld. Tomorrow we'll give Student Strike in all Delhi", it said.

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