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Monday, March 30, 2020

Scared, had latched door… police kicked it down: Students in Jamia library recall attack

"They finally broke open the door and burst in, and started to rain lathis on us. I was trying to escape. I received a blow on my hand and then, at the door, I got another one in my eye,” said a student lost vision in his left eye after being beaten by police.

Written by Aranya Shankar | New Delhi | Updated: February 27, 2020 3:37:12 pm
jamia violence, jamia violence new video, delhi police enters jamia library, jamia millia islamia, jamia library violence video, delhi city news, indian express Grab from video of police attacking students in the Jamia library on December 15, 2019.

Two students who can be seen in the video from Jamia Millia Islamia’s library, where they were beaten with batons and lathis, told The Indian Express on Sunday that the atmosphere just before the police action was one of fear and panic.

Mohammad Minhajuddin (26), who lost vision in his left eye after being beaten by police, can be seen in the video, sitting in the library wearing a black jacket. As Delhi Police and CRPF personnel enter the room in riot gear, Minhaj attempts to slide out from behind the desk. The uniformed personnel hit him with lathis, and force him into the hall.

Narrating the events of December 15, 2019, when the police entered the Jamia campus, the final year student of LLM said, “The video is of the first floor. Before they climbed on to the first floor that day, there was violence on the ground floor. We could hear the noise of glass shattering and tear gas shells bursting. Students were scared, that is why they had shut their books and laptops. We knew the police would come upstairs. We did not know what to do, so we latched the door, and everyone was looking at the door anxiously.”

“The movement you see at the beginning of the video, where people are trying to go towards the back and hide, happened because the police had started kicking the door, and everyone was very scared. Nobody could study. They finally broke open the door and burst in, and started to rain lathis on us. I was trying to escape. I received a blow on my hand and then, at the door, I got another one in my eye,” Minhajuddin said.

He said he ran to the bathroom to save himself. A picture of him collapsed on the bathroom floor with a bloodied handkerchief covering his face had gone viral. Despite filing a police complaint, there has been no FIR.

“The Jamia administration wanted to just bury the issue. Had the students not taken the initiative, the matter would have been buried. The police have not called me even once, and the complaint has not been converted into an FIR,” he said.

Read | Month after Jamia admin filed police complaint, no FIR

Minhajuddin has moved the Delhi High Court seeking a court-monitored investigation or a probe by a special investigation team (SIT) into the violence.

Md Mustafa (27), an MA student of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, who suffered fractures in both hands, can be seen in the video in another corner in a white shirt and blue sweater vest. He too, attempts to make his way out of the room, but is hit by lathis.

Mustafa said he had reached the library at 9 am as usual. “I am studying for the Civil Services examination, so I come in the morning and leave at night. That day I was reading Indian Economy by Ramesh Singh. Around 5:45 pm, I heard sounds of tear gas shells outside, but I was confident that the police would not enter the library. But as the tension increased, we decided to latch the door. But the police kicked it open and entered,” he said.

“They gave us no warning; they just charged with lathis. They were saying, “Tumhe aazadi chahiye? Ye lo aazadi”. I have never been part of any protest, so I was shocked. They didn’t even bother to hit us on our legs; the first blow I got was behind the ear, as a result of which a blood clot was formed. Once out of the hall, I was repeatedly hit and my laptop was broken,” Mustafa said.

He said that instead of being taken to hospital, he was taken to New Friends Colony police station along with several others. “They took our mobile phones from us. No medical treatment was given; we didn’t get enough water and no food, except a samosa. They forced us to sit on the floor in the cold. We were finally taken to AIIMS Trauma Centre at 3:30 am.”

Mustafa said he was initially scared. “I didn’t want to file a complaint, but I finally did so in January. Until now, not even an IO (investigating officer) has been assigned to me. The police are just not doing anything,” he said. Mustafa too, has moved the HC against the delay in filing an FIR.

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