Students and other inmates of a Muzaffarnagar madrasa have alleged that police barged into the complex on December 20, during protests in the town against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, and, besides allegedly beating up with lathis, forced them to chant “Jai Shri Ram” and called them “terrorists”.
Maulana Asad Raza Hussaini, 68, who runs the madarsa, said he was among those the police thrashed. “They didn’t say anything, they just hit me so much that I fell and someone else fell on me. I didn’t think I’d live but God saved me. I have never seen anything like this, not even during the riots (2013),” said the maulana, who has a fractured left arm and bandages on both his legs.
Senior Superintendent of Police Abhishek Yadav denied the charges. Denying allegations that students and others were forced to chant “Jai Shri Ram”, Yadav said, “the question of such a thing doesn’t arise”. On allegations of assault, he said, “We had to do a lathi charge as protesters had entered the madrasa, but after that, there was no action. Rumours are being spread,” he said
Yadav said that on December 20, several protesters had allegedly entered the madarsa complex. “We detained 75 people in all, of whom 28 students were let off the same day. Yesterday, 10 others, who we found were part of the protest, were granted bail because no vandalism charges could be established,” he said.
The SSP added that the maulana’s son, Mohammad Hussaini, had issued a press statement on Sunday refuting allegations of police violence or “misdeed”. Hussaini, however, said, “I have only refuted false reports of rectal bleeding and other such claims carried by the media. However, police did beat up people.”
There were earlier reports of the madrasa’s students, many of them minors, being assaulted and of some of them suffering “rectal bleeding”.
Irfan Haider, 21, a student who was among those detained on December 20 and released a day later at 11 pm, alleged that more than 150 policemen in uniform and riot gear entered the madarsa around 3.45 pm that day. “They broke the CCTV cameras, broke open the doors and started hitting us with lathis. We were rounded up and taken to the police station, where we were hit with the butt of guns,” he said, nursing fractures on his right arm and foot. “Around midnight (on December 20), they gave us a glass of water to be shared by five people. They also forced us to chant Jai Shri Ram,” he added.
A 59-year-old government employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had come to offer namaz in the campus mosque on December 20 when he was picked up by the police. “They said Jai Shri Ram keh ke bata. I did so. We were also thrashed. I’m unable to sleep at night and haven’t gone to work since then,” he said.
Adil Hussain, 19, one of the students released on bail on Saturday, said he was preparing to return home to Karnal when police barged into his room. “When they entered, there was some commotion — all of us ran here and there. They said, ‘if you try to move, you will be shot’. After that they tharshed us and took us to the police station,” said Hussain.
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