Jamia: Rampant Student Arrests, But No Action Over Police Brutality?

The Delhi police continue to haunt students at Jamia Millia Islamia who were actively registering their protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act  – an unconstitutional and discriminatory legislation.

Meeran Haider is a PhD student and Safoora Zargar is an MPhil student at Jamia and both have been booked under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for allegedly instigating violence in Northeast Delhi early this year.

More so, over 50 students who were part of the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) have been served notice in connection with the December 15 violence in Jamia when the police stormed inside the campus without the permission. Since there is no student body, some students of the university formed the JCC after December 15 to spearhead the protests against the CAA in and around the campus.

On the evening of December 15, I was also at the receiving end of police brutality. The police wielded lathis at me, fracturing both my hands when there wasn’t any fault of mine – as a civil service aspirant, I had been sitting and studying in the library since 9 am on that day.

Also read: After JNU Violence, Jamia Fears Another Round of Attacks

Recently, the Delhi police submitted an Action Taken report claiming that they entered the library to “rescue innocent students trapped inside and to ensure normalcy.” On January 22, the Delhi high court had asked the Jamia Nagar Police to submit the report after the university demanded action against the excessive police violence on the campus.

However, the report doesn’t fall into place.

As a victim of police brutality, I saw how they fractured both my hands and destroyed my laptop while I was sitting in the library preparing for my upcoming exam. Contrary to the report, they entered the library without any warning and started wielding lathis at students in the vicinity. I, too, received a few blows on my head which led to a clot. After that, I don’t even want to recall the number of times they hit me and how I ended up at the New Friends Colony police station.

The police, along with a few other students, took me to the police station and kept me there for over eight hours without any medical aid, despite having bruises all over my body and fracture in both my hands. Instead of taking me to the Holy Family hospital – which is only 400 metres away from Jamia gate number 7 – the police made me sit on the cold floor at the station, while I writhed and called for help.

I went through all of this without any fault of mine.

It is worrisome that there are multiple FIRs filed against students but no action has been taken against the police. I filed a complaint at the Jamia Nagar Police Station on January 23, but I am yet to be assigned any investigation officer for my case.

Also read: When I Met Fear and Rebellion

However, the police cannot decline registering my complaint as it goes against the Supreme Court’s guidelines in the case of Lalita Kumari vs Government of Uttar Pradesh (2014) wherein the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the registration of FIR is mandatory under Section 154 CRPC by the police officer, as soon as a cognisable offense is disclosed to them.

But in our matter, the police is continuously refusing to file an FIR against the personnel who entered our college campus. I have reported my case with the National Human Rights Commission, the Delhi High Court and I have also submitted CCTV footage of the old library wherein I can be seen beaten up by cops.

Meanwhile, the high court has given a long date for hearing and during the last hearing, it had adjourned the matter without considering the urgency of the matter.

I hope that the Delhi police will act impartially with regard to the recent cases against the students and they will not resort to further intimidate the students at a time when the whole world is fighting against the COVID-19 pandemic.

I do believe justice will be served one day, but the delay in getting justice has no meaning for aggrieved parties – as is best described by the old adage “justice delayed is justice denied’’.

Hence, I am expecting a speedy redressal by the Delhi high court in our case.

Md Mustafa is pursuing Masters in Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He can be reached at: md180892@st.jmi.ac.in

Featured image credit: PTI