A two-month old video has emerged that shows several policemen thrashing students at the reading hall of Delhi’s Jamia Millia University on the day violence broke out at the campus after a protest march against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act or CAA.
The 49-second clip – released by Jamia Coordination Committee on social media on Saturday – shows students sitting at university’s Old Reading Hall (M Phil Section). A man sitting at a desk hides under a table before cops enter; another man is seen rushing around.
Several policemen in riot gear suddenly barge into the room, severely baton-charge students as they look for cover. Some students run out at cops continue to thrash them. The Jamia Coordination Committee is a group of alumni and students.
Violence broke at Jamia Millia University in Delhi on December 15 after a protest march by the university’s students against the CAA ended in a pitched battle with the police, vandalism and torching of vehicles. The police, which used batons and tear gas to contain the violence, later barged into the university and detained around 100 students. A student, injured during the clashes, lost sight in his left eye.
Police action at Jamia and later at the Aligarh Muslim University the same night had led to student protests across the country where they voiced opposition against the citizenship law. While government has said the CAA, which makes religion the test of citizenship for the first time in the country, would help prosecuted minorities from three Muslim neighboring countries, critics have called it anti-Muslim.
Students across the world, including those from Harvard and Oxford, expressed concern over the use of police force at these protests.
Delhi Police responded to allegations of force and entering the campus by insisting they “only acted to control the situation”. Jamia students had distanced themselves from the violence and some officers of the Delhi police privately admitted that local thugs were responsible for it. In a statement, the students said, “We have time and again maintained our protests are peaceful and non-violent.”