10 questions Jamia VC should address to clear the air around Dec 15 violence

An exploded teargas shell inside the Zakir Hussain library in Jamia Millia Islamia. Photo: Shaheen Abdulla

Daud Arif

In the early hours of Sunday, 16th Feb, almost 2 months after the incident took place at Jamia, wherein a peaceful protest turned violent, followed by Delhi police allegedly entering the campus, video evidence in this regard has gone viral. In the viral video, Jawans from the RAF are seen brutally thrashing the students inside the 1st floor of the Old Reading Room at Jamia Millia Islamia. The 30-second video is horrific and breaks the narrative Delhi police has been maintaining, that it did not enter the library.

This episode happened when the students along with locals marched to the nearby area against the newly passed Citizenship Amendment Act. The situation turned tensed followed by a crackdown both at the protest site and in the varsity. 

Later today, another 8-10 second video was aired by some media houses to counter the narrative. The video claims to be from the same space, moments before the police entered the library. In the video, students are seen rushing inside the library and trying to block the door.

So far, Jamia administration has maintained that it did not call for Delhi police to enter the campus. With the memories of the ‘Bloody Sunday’ afresh once again, here are 10 questions Jamia VC must answer immediately

  1. The CCTV footage that has come out is verified to be from Jamia by students who were there that day. Why did the Jamia authorities sit on it and not bring it to the public domain despite Delhi police putting it on record that it didn’t enter the library?
  2. What was the set of instructions on record that Jamia VC and the proctor used to handle the situation, Jamia has two sets of security teams, where were they during the episode?
  3. Can Jamia on record deny that it didn’t ask for police Help?
  4. How many police complaints have been filed by Jamia? What is the evidence that Jamia submitted against the police? Has it submitted all the relevant CCTV footage for investigation?
  5. Jamia time and again is seen distancing itself from the newly constituted body JCC. Why so? Current students along with Jamia Alums are part of the body and are operating in Jamia. JCC released the video on their official handles. Is Jamia admin trying to discredit the body and the authenticity of the video?
  6. How has Jamia dealt with the injured students? Has Jamia admin constituted any trauma/counseling centers? So far the efforts on the ground have been by JCC and other organizations in solidarity with Jamia.
  7. Has Jamia demanded any financial compensation for those injured in it’s complaint to Delhi Police/HC?
  8. The leaked video shows police attacking unarmed students, the angle of the video is very much from the CCTV in the room, despite this much of evidence, why is it that Jamia admin seems to be silent on the larger front?
  9. Is the hesitation linked to possible involvement of the Jamia admin in the exercise that took place in the campus?
  10. If not, what’s the new course of action Jamia admin plans to execute now? Are we expecting a complete package of the footage to be out in the public domain, at least now?

Universities are supposed to be spaces to promote discussion, dissent, and debate, but if the same spaces become thrashing grounds of police to exercise their power while the university admin becomes mute spectator, there is a bleak detour ahead for the youth of the country it seems.

Daud Arif is a former student of Jamia Millia Islamia and an independent filmmaker based in Delhi

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