In Jamia on 15 Dec 2019 “police was acting to prevent violence”: Court

Numerous accounts revealed that the police personnel hit every student they could find, even in places such as the library, the mosque, the canteen, and the bathrooms. Photo: Sreekanth Sivadasan

On Wednesday, a Delhi Court has dismissed the application filed by Jamia Millia Islamia University, seeking registration of FIR against Delhi Police for committing various atrocities within the University campus in December 2019 following anti-CAA protests.

The Court observed that “excesses committed in trying to control the situation are very much related to official duties”.

“Though it could be argued that while so acting, the police/respondents had allegedly exceeded their jurisdiction and used more force than necessary in some instances, it cannot be said, by any stretch of imagination, that the said acts… were wholly unconnected to their official duty. Likewise, it could also be argued that the situation perhaps could have been handled by the respondents in a better way and that some restraint should have been shown by the police in order to differentiate between peaceful student protesters and anti­social elements who had attempted to hijack the entire movement. However, the lack of such restraint exhibited by the police and excesses committed in trying to control the situation are very much related to official duties of the respondents,” reads the order, passed by Metropolitan Magistrate Rajat Goyal.

In its application, Jamia Millia Islamia told Court that on December 15, 2019, civil society members had decided to call a peaceful protest against CAA near the university area.

However, in pursuit of clearing the crowd, police officials broke into the university campus without seeking any sanction and used excessive and arbitrary force, thrashed several security guards as well as students, the application stated.

Yet, the Delhi Police forced their way into campus and attacked the protesting students with brute force, using lathis and tear gas. Photo: Seekanth Sivadasan

It was also claimed by Jamia Millia Islamia that the police officials caused destruction of university property, fired tear gas shells and conducted lathi charge.

The Court was also informed that the police officials hurt religious sentiments of Muslims who are the locals of the area by entering into the university mosque.

University also informed the Court that University officials gave a complaint o the SHO Police Station Jamia Nagar and concerned ACP and DCP in this regard but no action was taken on the complaints.

In response to Jamia Millia Islamia, Delhi Police stated that the police was constrained to enter the university campus to maintain the law and order situation.

According to Delhi Police, the local leaders and politicians had instigated the students and deployment of anti-riot staff was done as per the standard protocol to deal with the crowd that was armed and had set several vehicles on fire.

The Court had said “it cannot be denied the said protests had taken a violent turn in many parts of the country and law and order situation had become tense.”

“This court has no hesitation in holding that acts allegedly committed by the respondents fall within the purview of section 197 CrPC, being acts committed in discharge of official duties,” Court said.

Advocates Asghar khan and Tariq Nasir, who represented the university, said that they will file a revision petition before a superior court against the order.

Visuals of police action on December 15 2019 in Jamia Millia Islamia made huge outcry across India last winter triggering masses to join the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) protests in solidarity.

The university officials, students, and alumni association had filed separate police complaints against the brutal action of unruly policemen who beat students and damaged university property. Police, however, are yet to register an FIR in the matter.

On 15 December 2019, students of Jamia Millia Islamia held protests against the CAA for the third consecutive day. That day, the students had conducted peaceful protests within the university premises. Yet, the Delhi Police forced their way into campus and attacked the protesting students with brute force, using lathis and tear gas.

Numerous accounts revealed that the police personnel hit every student they could find, even in places such as the library, the mosque, the canteen, and the bathrooms.

The police broke open the mosque and vandalized it while people were offering their prayers and man-handled the Imam.

The CCTV video footage exclusively released by Maktoob showed police attacking students. In the five-minute-long clip, police and paramilitary personnel are shown breaking down the door and barging into the reading room. Most have their faces covered.