A scuffle broke out between Delhi Police and Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students, who were protesting against the alleged administrative inaction in the case of a missing student from the university as the police manhandled and detained all protesters along with the missing student's mother.
After the protests, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal met President Pranab Mukherjee who sought a report in the case, reported CNN-News 18.
Students of the JNU were protesting at Jantar Mantar as Najeeb Ahmad, 27-year-old, a student of School of Biotechnology and a native of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, went missing on 15 October following an on-campus scuffle allegedly with the members of ABVP the night before.
The Delhi Police was be seen forcing students into a bus and in the process manhandling even women protesters, according to visuals aired by Times Now.
As the police tried to detain the students and force them into a bus, the students resisted the police action, which led to the scuffle, Times Now reported. Najeeb's mother, who was present at the protest along with 30-40 JNU students, was also detained and manhandled in the process. The students and Najeeb's mother could be seen being dragged and shoved by the police officials, in an attempt to empty the streets.
Protests at near India Gate, Delhi over missing JNU student Najeeb Ahmed, who has been missing for around 22 days, all protesters detained pic.twitter.com/3RaasstluA
— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) November 6, 2016
According to the report, the JNU students were shouting that they had planned for a peaceful candle march from Jantar Mantar to India Gate. The protest was scheduled to start at around 3.30 pm, however, the Delhi Police reached the venue and detained the students even before the protest could start.
The Delhi Police on the other hand said that prohibitory orders were in place in the area and the security was beefed up in the wake of Chhath festival. Therefore, such a meeting or demonstration could have created a law and order situation in the region, according to the Times Now report. The police, meanwhile, is not disclosing where the detained protesters have been kept. Media reports speculate that protesters will be held at different police station within Central Delhi. However, according to CNN-News18, some of the protesters are held at the Mandir marg police station.
Speaking to CNN-News18, Najeeb's sister said that the police mistreated her and Najeeb's mother and dragged them into the police vehicle. "They abused us, harassed us, is this the way to treat women," she told the TV channel. She also said that the police action started even before the protesters could assemble.
Meanwhile, politics around the issue was already gathering steam, as Congress leader Manish Tewari said that the behaviour of state machinery was extremely oppressive and instead of holding the Delhi police responsible for not being able to locate the boy, the government is busy stifling the protest. Delhi Chief Minister on the other hand had on Friday requested the students to take the fight outside JNU alleging that full efforts to bring back Najeeb will only be made when Modi will realise that he is losing out on votes of youth. "The movement for demanding justice for Najeeb needs to come to mainstream. The vice-chancellor is also scared that if he will take any action he will also go missing," Kejriwal said.
Following the call by Delhi Chief Minister to take their protest "mainstream", the JNU Students Union (JNUSU) had called for the candle light march at India Gate on 6 November.
He also questioned why the Delhi Police did not question ABVP students, with whom the student allegedly had a fight before he disappeared.
The government has meanwhile, ordered an SIT probe into the issue while Lt Governor Najeeb Jung asked the cops to speed up their work. Jung also met the head of the SIT probe team and took stock of the situation. He also increased the reward money from Rs one lakh to Rs two lakh for giving information about the whereabouts of the missing student. The SIT team on Friday also questioned the nine ABVP activists, including Vikrant, who were allegedly involved in a brawl with Najeeb in the JNU hostel and over 20,000 posters of Najeeb have been pasted in Delhi and outside as part of efforts to trace the boy. Najeeb has now been missing for 23 days and there has been no word on his whereabouts.
With inputs from PTI