More videos of police assault on students inside the library of Jamia Millia Islamia surfaced Monday, showing uniformed personnel on the evening of December 15 beating students with lathis, breaking tables and chairs, and smashing a CCTV camera.
Of these, a 5-minute, 10 second video shows scores of students attempting to leave a library room as they are hit with batons by personnel in riot gear. Some of them can be seen with their faces covered with handkerchiefs. Several students are seen huddled together near the entrance to the room for minutes, seemingly unable to exit, looking outside with folded hands.
Special Commissioner of Police (crime branch) Praveer Ranjan, when asked about the new video, said the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the December 15 violence will analyse all the clips to establish the sequence of events. “Once the sequence of events is established, we will identify all those who were involved in the violence and action as per law will be taken. By just seeing the videos released on social media, it will not be appropriate to declare at this point of time that those present inside the Jamia campus or its library were innocent,” said the special commissioner.
“The reason for the police to enter the campus was that rioters were present and throwing stones from inside,” he added.
He said the investigation would also look into the personnel seen in the footage and the circumstances of police action inside the campus.
Three students present in the video told The Indian Express that the video pertained to the MPhil/PhD section on the second floor of the Old Library. They said the reason they were pleading with folded hands at the door was that more uniformed personnel were standing outside with batons and lathis in their hands, attacking students.
In the video, uniformed personnel can be seen entering the room after breaking the door barricaded by desks. A woman security guard of Jamia is allowed to walk out, after which students start running to the door.
Women students at the front can be seen pleading with police to let them out. While they are spared, around 50 others behind them are repeatedly hit with lathis. At the end of the video, a policeman can be seen swinging his lathi at the CCTV camera, ostensibly to break it.
Shayaan Mujeeb, a BBA student who has moved Delhi HC seeking compensation for the violence that fractured both his legs, said he had gone to the library to issue books. Mujeeb had to undergo surgery and now uses a walker.
“I was actually standing outside the library when the commotion started, but when we saw police entering and throwing teargas, we ran up to the second floor. We blocked the door with a desk after hearing police breaking glass and furniture on the floors below us, but they broke in and started beating everyone. We tried to escape, but there were personnel on the stairs who kept hitting us. That is when I got hit on both of my legs. I didn’t see anybody holding stones,” he said.
Mohd Suhail, who’s doing a PG Diploma in Disaster Management, also said there were no outsiders in the library. “People had handkerchiefs in their hands or faces because of the teargas smoke. The student they allege had a stone in his hand was actually holding his wallet. If rioters wanted to hide somewhere knowing the police are chasing them, they would not come inside a library where there is no exit point. Only innocent students were beaten,” he said.
Suhail said he had gone in after his younger brother called to say police had entered campus. “I was at Zakir Nagar at that time, but I rushed. I even managed to get him out. But his bag was left behind and I couldn’t leave it as it had my original documents. When I went inside the library, a teargas shell landed next to us on the ground floor. That’s when we ran up to the second floor and blocked the door to the room. Then they broke open the door, and started lathi-charging us. When I tried to leave, I told them ‘sir hum saare students hain’, but they called us Pakistanis and abused us,” he alleged.
Taiyeb Gufran Ahamad, a B.Ed student, said: “The ground floor was filled with smoke and we could hear glass shattering. We all got very scared and closed the door by blocking it with a desk. They just broke it open and started raining lathis. When I tried to get out, I told them I was studying, but they didn’t listen and hit me on the head.”
“I was so helpless… I didn’t know what to do, so I went into the ladies bathroom. I was in the commode area for at least 15 minutes, and I saw there were other students too. The police entered and hit me inside the bathroom too,” alleged Ahmed.
Jamia PRO Ahmed Azeem said the police had been handed over all the CCTV footage from the university around January 20.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.