In unprecedented scenes, police opened fire in the air, hurled smoke bombs and lathi-charged students. The Delhi Police, on its part, claimed that its actions were aimed at controlling the violence.
A video accessed by Firstpost shows police firing as students try to come out from Gates 1 and 5 of the #JamiaMilliaIslamia University
— Firstpost (@firstpost) December 15, 2019
The protest was being held against the contentious law which seeks to provide citizenship to non-Muslims religious minorities from three neighbouring countries who arrived in India to escape religious persecution.
Father George PA, director of Holy Family Hospital, said, “We received university students and also two police personnel who suffered injuries, bruises. Most of them have been discharged now."
He said that 35 students and two police personnel, were admitted to the hospital. "They have got injures on head, maybe due to stone pelting. None of them are critical. We are taking care of them," he said.
Due to the violence, entry and exit gates at seven Delhi Metro stations were briefly closed. Delhi's deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said that all schools in Okhla, Jamia and New Friends Colony and Madanpur Khadar areas will remain closed.
Protesters torch buses, police vehicles
Earlier in the day, protesters torched four public buses and two police vehicles as they clashed with police in New Friends' Colony near the Jamia University during a demonstration against the amended Citizenship Act, leaving six cops and two firemen injured, officials said.
A students' body later said they had nothing to do with the violence and arson and alleged that "certain elements" had joined in and "disrupted" the demonstration.
Soon after the violence, Jamia Millia Islamia Chief Proctor Waseem Ahmed Khan claimed that the Delhi Police entered the campus forcibly without any permission and beat up staff members and students who were forced to leave the campus.
Condemning the police action, university vice chancellor Najma Akhtar said students who were inside the library have been taken out and are safe.
Deputy Commissioner of Police (Southeast) Chinmoy Biswal said four buses and two police vehicles were torched during the protest, and six policemen were also injured. He said stones were pelted from inside the university campus at police personnel, forcing them to use teargas to disperse the "violent mob". Biswal said some people have been detained but did not give details.
Escorted by police, some youths could be seen coming out of their hostels with their hands raised. Some of them claimed the police also entered the library and "harassed" the students.
An eyewitness claimed that protesters took out petrol from a motorcycle and used it to torch the buses. However, protesters claimed the police baton-charged them and used teargas shells when they were holding peaceful protest.
A Delhi Fire Services official said four fire tenders were rushed to the spot. One of them was completely damaged and two personnel were injured, he said.
Plumes of smoke billowed from the torched buses as firemen tried to douse the blaze.
According to Saimon Farooqui, the national secretary of Congress-affiliated National Students' Union of India, the protesters were peacefully sitting on Mathura Road when policemen tried to "trouble" a couple of protesters, who resisted. Thereafter, the police lathicharged the protesters and used teargas, he alleged.
The clash disrupted traffic in the area with several vehicles stranded on roads for hours.
After the violence this afternoon, a Jamia students' body issued a statement, saying, "We have time and again maintained that our protests are peaceful and nonviolent. We stand by this approach and condemn any party involved in the violence.
"We have maintained calm even when students have been lathicharged and some women protesters badly beaten up. Media personnel are a witness to these events. Violence by certain elements is an attempt to vilify and discredit genuine protests," the statement said.
Sources said the police entered the campus while chasing some "outsiders" who had indulged in vandalism and were trying to hide on the premises
The vice chancellor said university students were not involved in the violent protest. "In the evening, when the agitation started, my students had not given a call for it," she told PTI.
"...Which university can have such a huge crowd? At least not my university. It was a Sunday and we had already declared winter vacation on Saturday so half of the students had already gone home," she said.
AMU to remain closed till 5 January
The Aligarh Muslim University had said university to remain closed till 5 January due to disturbances created by some "anti-social elements".
Hundreds of students of Aligarh Muslim University protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act clashed with police at a campus gate after which police used batons and tear gas to disperse them.Soon after the protest near the Jamia Millia University in Delhi, the students started gathering at the Babey Sir Syed Gate and shouted slogans against the law and police action on demonstrators in the national capital.
AMU Proctor professor Afifullah Khan said some security personnel have been injured in brick-batting near the gate. Police said the student broke down the police cordon. Police have sealed all gates to the campus. Tension prevailed in the area as police used batons and tear gas to control the situation.
Political blame game
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said any kind of violence is unacceptable and protests should remain peaceful. "No one should indulge in violence. Any kind of violence is unacceptable. Protests should remain peaceful," he tweeted.
The BJP blamed the Aam Aadmi Party for the violence and demanded it stop "provoking people", but the AAP rejected the charge .
BJP Delhi chief Manoj Tiwari, in a tweet, said that an AAP MLA was "provoking" the public and called Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal a "traitor".
"An AAP MLA is provoking people at the behest of Arvind Kejriwal. The Muslims of the country are with India and are not going to be influenced by traitors like you. Stop provoking people. The people of Delhi will teach AAP traitors a lesson. The sin of AAP is being exposed," he tweeted in Hindi.
However, Okhla MLA Amanatullah Khan, who is apparently the MLA alluded to by Tiwari, denied the accusations.
"Some TV channels have run the news that protesters under my leadership have torched buses, which is wrong. I protested near Shaheen Bagh where nothing untoward happened," he told reporters.
The Delhi Traffic Police said in a tweet that the vehicular movement was closed from Okhla Underpass to Sarita Vihar due to the agitation. Vehicles coming from Badarpur and Ashram Chowk were diverted to alternative routes due to the blockade.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 15, 2019 23:38:23 IST