After a protest by students of Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University near INA last year left 41 policemen and 35 students injured, South West district police decided to be better prepared to manage Monday’s protest by JNU students.
They coordinated with adjoining districts in advance and created multiple layers to stop students. “We were aware of their protest march to Parliament. To stop them, we created three-four layers. We first deployed our force and put up barricades. Four areas — outside the campus gate, Katwaria Sarai, Nelson Mandela Marg and Baba Gang Nath Marg — were marked as stopping points,” said a senior officer.
Before the protest began, police informed students that they do not have permission to carry out the protest march and that Section 144 has been imposed outside campus. “However, students started their march. They were first stopped at the campus gate and then at the marked points. Personnel got into a scuffle with the protesters,” said an officer, adding that 100 students were detained.
Senior officers, who were monitoring the situation, said many students tried to sneak past them but were stopped. “That’s when they changed their plan, which we were not aware of. They started slipping out in small groups… at around 1.30 pm, several students had gathered in the Ring Road area. Police personnel were sent to the spot immediately,” the officer said.
The South West district police anticipated they would head to Parliament via The Leela Palace hotel and Sanjay Lake, but they took the INA route.
“A message was flashed to South district police. By the time students arrived, barricades weren’t in place and not enough personnel were at the spot. As Safdarjung Tomb is the last location before the jurisdiction of New Delhi district police begins, South district police carried out a lathicharge and stopped students at Aurobindo Marg… the road is wide enough to handle protesters. During last year’s protest, we could not mobilise our force as the area around Sanjay Lake is narrow,” said the officer.