A CCTV footage of the Delhi Police and paramilitary forces crackdown on students of Jamia Millia Islamia on 15 December has emerged on social media and within hours of its release has even gone viral. The 48-second video purportedly shows seven to eight paramilitary and police personnel, in riot gear, entering the library and attacking students with lathis.
In the footage, students can be seen sitting in the library as the Delhi Police stormed in, charging them with batons and damaging property. The police continued beating up students as they tried to run away from the spot.
The Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC), a group comprising students and alumni of the varsity, released the footage in the early hours of Sunday.
Exclusive CCTV Footage of Police Brutality in Old Reading Hall, First floor-M.A/M.Phill Section on
Shame on you @DelhiPolice @ndtvindia @ttindia @tehseenp @RanaAyyub @Mdzeeshanayyub @ReallySwara @ANI @CNN @ReutersIndia @AltNews @BBCHindi @the_hindu @TheQuint @BDUTT pic.twitter.com/q2Z9Xq7lxv
— Jamia Coordination Committee (@Jamia_JCC) February 15, 2020
The JCC has also issued a statement while sharing the footage of Delhi Police's brutality on Twitter. "The CCTV footage shows the brutal act of police forces and how the state-sponsored terrorists are playing the game of brutality on the students of Jamia who were preparing for their examination inside the Old Reading Hall of Library," the JCC statement read.
Firstpost, however, could not independently verify the veracity of the video.
The time-stamp on the CCTV footage, carrying the watermark of the Mehfil-e-Jamia Twitter account, showed the cops entering the Old Reading Hall on the first floor of the MA/M.Phil section at 6.08 pm on 15 December. They could be seen hitting unarmed students with sticks.
Reacting to the footage, Delhi Police said the case has already been transferred to the Crime Branch and the video is being probed. "A video of the incident has surfaced. We have taken cognizance of it and will investigate the matter," news agency ANI quoted Praveer Ranjan, Special Commissioner of Police (Crime) as saying on Sunday morning.
Speaking to News18, the Delhi Police additionally said that on 15 December when the "students were firing petrol bombs from inside the campus, the police went inside and charged with sticks. "Watching the video carefully gives a clear picture. The students are studying with their faces covered. This is a clear picture, why will the students sit with their face covered?"
Questioning the veracity of the video, the police further asked how students were peacefully reading inside a library when there was chaos outside — petrol bombs being hurled and tear gas being deployed. News18 reported that the police has launched an independent investigation into the video.
Jamia has not released video, clarifies university
The university, however, distanced itself from the video, saying it has not released the viral clip.
"It has come to our notice that some video with regard to police brutality in the Dr Zakir Husain Library of the Jamia Millia Islamia (JMI) is in circulation. This is to clarify that the video has not been released by the university," PTI quoted the institute's public relations officer Ahmad Azeem as saying.
According to the public relations officer, the JCC is not an official body of the university.
"This is to clarify that the JCC is not an official body of the university. Any communication from the JCC should not be taken as version of the university" Ahmad Azeem told PTI.
"A number of Twitter accounts, Facebook pages and other users on different social media platforms are using Jamia Millia Islamia's name, creating confusion among the people. The university's official Twitter handle is @jmiu_official. Official verified Facebook page is Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi @jmiofficial and official Instagram account is jamiamilliaislamia_official," he said.
"We have also requested Twitter to verify our official handle and will also ask other social media platforms to do the same," added the official.
Priyanka Gandhi, other Opposition leaders slam Amit Shah's ministry
Expressing her outrage over the video, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accused the Union Home Ministry and Delhi Police of lying.
"See how the Delhi Police is indiscriminately beating up pupils who are studying. A boy is showing his book but the policeman is hitting him with lathis. The Home Minister and Delhi Police officials lied that they had not beaten anyone by entering the library," Priyanka tweeted.
देखिए कैसे दिल्ली पुलिस पढ़ने वाले छात्रों को अंधाधुंध पीट रही है। एक लड़का किताब दिखा रहा है लेकिन पुलिस वाला लाठियां चलाए जा रहा है।
गृह मंत्री और दिल्ली पुलिस के अधिकारियों ने झूठ बोला कि उन्होंने लाइब्रेरी में घुस कर किसी को नहीं पीटा।..1/2 pic.twitter.com/vusHAGyWLh
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) February 16, 2020
Demanding action against the cops, she further said: "After watching this video, if action is not taken on the violence in Jamia, the intention of the government will be completely exposed to the country."
Congress MP Shashi Tharoor also echoed similar sentiment. "CCTV footage has emerged showing police assaulting Jamia students without provocation. Horrifying. Exemplary punishment must be levied on these lawless policemen," Tharoor tweeted.
CPM leader Sitaram Yechury also called for punishment for the policemen involved. "Why hasn't an FIR been registered against Delhi Police so long after this action against students in a library in the heart of Delhi? As Home Minister has justified police action, courts should take suo moto cognisance of the footage and initiate action against those responsible," he said.
The new CCTV footage emerged at a time when the Delhi Police had been receiving flak over 15 December, 2019, incident, when a protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act near Jamia turned violent. The police were accused of using excessive force to quell the demonstrations, and storming the campus.
Meanwhile, the police argued its action was justified as the protestors had allegedly injured its personnel and set buses on fire.
The university had turned into a battlefield as police entered the campus to look for outsiders who were involved in incidents of violence and arson a few metres away from the educational institute during the protest.
Police had barged into the campus after four buses were torched in New Friends Colony nearby during protests against the citizenship act in the locality.
According to students, police laid siege to the campus, fired tear gas shells and those injured were not even allowed to get medical attention. Students said windows of the library were smashed and around 50-60 students were inside when policemen gheraoed it.
During the clashes, one of the college students, Mohammad Minhajuddin lost sight in an eye after being hit by the police. A video of his statement was posted on Twitter by news anchor Rajdeep Sardesai. Doctors had said that vision in the other eye might also be affected.
"I was studying in the MPhil section of Jamia’s central library when 20-25 policemen, armed with sticks and wearing helmets, arrived there and started hitting everyone around. I was first hit on my hand that left a finger fractured, and then I was hit on my eye," Minhajuddin had said.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Feb 16, 2020 18:54:19 IST