The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) last week released its report regarding the violence at Jamia Millia Islamia on 15 December last year. The report has blamed the students for “engaging in illegal protests” and has claimed that the police “had to enter the campus in order to contain the violent protesters”.
However, many Jamia students say that the NHRC report contradicts facts and favours the actions of the police.
“The NHRC report is biased and narrates a one sided story favouring the police. The NHRC is trying to conceal the brutality committed by the Delhi Police inside an educational institution. I lost my eye permanently in the attack. The report has ignored the testimonies of the injured students.” Minhajuddin who was beaten up on 15 December, said in response to the report.
The Quint had also spoken to Minhajuddin soon after the violence in December. Watch this video to know what he had said then:
What the NHRC Report Says
- The NHRC team, lead by Ms. Manzil Saini released its report six months after the violence in Jamia took place. It may be recalled that CCTV visuals of students being beaten up in the library had gone viral.
- The report claims that the police had to enter the campus in the absence of no other alternative to control some “members of unlawful assembly”.
- The report has also blamed the student protesters for burning and destroying private property.
- The report has further pointed out a need to “uncover the real actors and motive behind overall protest at Jamia Millia Islamia which seems to be smartly and purportedly organised under the disguise of students.”
Several students in Jamia have denied these allegations and say that the report’s findings go against several eyewitness accounts.
Basil Islam, a BA second year sociology student who claims to have been present when the police entered the mosque on campus, said, “I came out of the mosque hearing noises. My face was burning and I could sense that they had thrown tear gas shells into the campus. I could see people running towards the tap and washing their faces repeatedly. Then, a group of officers barged into the mosque. They started beating up students and attacking the doors and walls of the mosque”.
He further alleges being beaten up by a policeman with lathis.
"I took out my mobile phone and started shooting a video. Seeing this, an officer came running towards me. He pushed me to the ground and repeatedly thrashed my hands with lathis. Then more police came. They kept beating me while one of them stamped on my phone and destroyed it." - Allegation by Basil Islam, Jamia student
According to the report, the police entered the library to “remove protesters who had gone inside”.
Mohammed Minhajuddin says he was in the library studying when the police barged in.
“I was in the first floor PG section of the library. We heard noises from the ground floor and the terrified students locked the door from inside. The police broke the door and came in, and without any warning started beating up students. They were not allowing students to leave the room in spite of us showing them ID cards,” he said.
Recalling how he got injured, Minhajuddin narrates:
"When I rushed to the door, a policeman hit me directly in the eye. It started bleeding and I ran to the washroom. I had to lie there for half an hour and I could hear students being dragged from toilets and beaten up inside the washroom. I saw a group of policemen surrounding and repeatedly hitting a single student."
He says that the report failed to address the police’s alleged misbehaviour with students.
“The police have misbehaved with the detained students. They have fabricated the whole story. They have included my name in the detainees list when I was not detained and was admitted to the hospital with serious injuries. They ignored my statements and the complaint I registered after the attack,” Minhajuddin said.
After the violence, Minhajuddin’s left eye has been permanently damaged and his other eye has become prone to infection.
The Quint had put out a story on the CCTV footage from the Jamia library from 15 December.
The students also point out that the CCTV footage in the public domain shows how the police entered the library and how a few personnel vandalised it and broke CCTV cameras.
The report merely mentions the police action in the library as “avoidable”.
Hashmat Niya, a second year mass communications student, narrates how they were trapped inside the central library reading hall when the police threw tear gas shells inside.
“We could not move outside because the police were standing at the door. We saw them beating up students outside the main door of central library. We were suffocating and there was no way to escape,” she said.
Hashmat also says that the police had asked them to walk with their bags on their heads while being escorted outside the library. “I saw them beating a student in front of me asking him to walk faster,” she alleged.
Students accuse the NHRC report of ignoring these charges.
“I suffered fractures in both my hands. I was in the library preparing for my upcoming civil service examinations. There should be an independent inquiry into what compelled the police to beat up the students in the library. Leave aside compensation, but at least I want acknowledgement of brutality done by the Delhi Police. We are disappointed with this report,” said Mohammed Mustafa a student of MA Social exclusion in the university.
In its report, the NHRC has recommended that the Government of India should take action against the officers beat up students and vandalised the library.
The police, on its part, has denied that there was any brutality against the students.
‘Attempt to Blame Students’
The report has also stated that the administration should find ways to detach the students from the locality so as to avoid such attacks in the future.
But students of Jamia says the people of the locality had only tried to help by providing salt, water and other necessities when tear gas shells were thrown inside.
According to the students, the report has shown no attempt to deliver justice, rather it blames Jamia students.
Advocate Nabila Hassan, who is representing some of the students severely injured in the attack, says the commission has completely ignored around 100 testimonies submitted before it.
“They have completely ignored the evidences filed before them. Instead of bringing to justice the innocent students, it has furthered the government’s agenda of finding conspiracy theories behind the anti- CAA-NRC movement. A human rights commission not standing for human rights of minorities is only one of many indicators of the direction the majoritarian state in India is headed to,” she said.
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