Jamia violence: In war of leaked CCTV footage, truth remains casualty as neither JCC nor Delhi Police can claim innocence

The CCTV footage released by Delhi Police was of 15 December, the night violence took place of Jamia campus.

Shishir Tripathi February 17, 2020 14:35:55 IST
Jamia violence: In war of leaked CCTV footage, truth remains casualty as neither JCC nor Delhi Police can claim innocence
  • The CCTV footage released by Delhi Police was of 15 December, the night violence took place of Jamia campus.

  • Police entering campus and the library and attacking students should be condemned at all cost.

  • If the video released by the JCC clearly shows police beating the students, the video released by the Delhi Police also shows students studying with their faces covered.

An old adage rightly points out that there are two sides of a story and truth usually lie somewhere in the middle. On Sunday when the video released by Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC) showing police entering Jamia Millia Islamia library and beating up students “indiscriminately” surfaced, the common reaction was of utter disdain and disgust for Delhi Police, who had allegedly unleashed their brute power on students peacefully doing what they are supposed to do; sitting and studying in the library.

Jamia violence In war of leaked CCTV footage truth remains casualty as neither JCC nor Delhi Police can claim innocence

Graffiti on a wall against CAA and NRC in Jamia Millia Islamia. Firstpost/Ismat Ara

However, a day after the video showing students being attacked in library surfaced, another video was released by the Delhi Police Crime Branch's Special Investigation Team (SIT) which reaffirms the adage mentioned above, that truth usually lies somewhere in between.

The video released by JCC is a part of the long CCTV footage that must have recorded the entire events of the day and perhaps holds a precursor to the police brutality. But, those interested in pushing a particular narrative would want only a particular part of the recording to be made public.

In this clash of videos released by JCC and Delhi Police, there are some connecting dots that need to be linked to reach to the full truth.

The CCTV footage released by Delhi Police was of 15 December, the night violence took place of Jamia campus. And, in the video what is evident is that there is much more to the story than a brute police force being unleashed on the students without any provocation. In the video released by Delhi Police number of students can be seen in a balcony with stones in their hands. Another video shows a group of students being ushered into the library, with some of them carrying stones in their hands, which would hold books a few minutes later.

If the videos showing the police entering the library and beating students bear the testimony to the force used by the police, the video released by the Delhi Police proves that the use of force by the Delhi Police was not unprovoked.

One can argue about the authenticity of the video released by the Delhi Police, showing students with a mask on their faces and stone in their hands. But, then this argument about the authenticity of the video also holds valid in the case of the video released by JCC. To mark one video as “unauthenticated”, pushing it in the realm of doubt and treating the other as gospel truth clearly established the bias of this whole narrative.

If the video released by the JCC clearly shows police beating the students, the video released by the Delhi Police also shows students studying with their faces covered. And both have to be acknowledged to understand the actual sequence of events.

If one also disregard the video released by the Delhi Police –that shows students armed with stones and applies little logic then also the chain of events becomes clear. How is it even remotely possible that when the campus was witnessing the violence of the scale where petrol bombs were being used, a group of students was sitting ‘peacefully’ studying in the library, oblivious to all the violence.

What happened on 15 December, 2019, was unfortunate by all means. Police entering campus and the library and attacking students should be condemned at all cost.

But before condemning the police action, a valid question that needs to be asked is whether campuses can be made a safe haven for any sort of illegal activity and a ‘student’ tag can be used to attain immunity against any criminal act.

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