It’s 15th of December when thousands of localites took onto the streets to protest against the NRC and CAA in a display of civil resistance. Little did anyone know, about the Delhi Police that was all prepared to test their brute forces and methods on every strand of Jamia Millia Islamia; students, professors and the harmless campus that beared the torture for hours. The politically shy university was turned into a war-zone by the police who apparently turned into genocide warriors.
In an educational institution which does not have a Student Union of its own to endorse any political ideologies; the libraries, hostels and places of worship were infiltrated by the Delhi Police on the evening of 15th December. Run by the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Delhi police carries out the orders of the Home Minister. Waseem Ahmed Khan, Chief Proctor of Jamia Millia Islamia told Asia News International about how the police broke in without permission and forced the staff and students to flee the spot. Horrifying videos and images have surfaced up amidst the display of gunda raj by the police to suppress dissent against the NRC and CAA. In the capital city of the nation where students from pan India come to receive education, a truly horrifying spectacle was created with a display of state sanctioned brutality on innocent students, both girls and boys along with staff members. Unarmed women were beaten up, boys were beaten up and humiliated while the police verbally abused them. Police entered the Central Library where students were studying peacefully and began the lathicharge. Videos show the Reading Hall room smoked up from tear gas shells and students being forced to evacuate. Students can be seen ducking under their desks, running without a direction in an attempt to escape the brutality. The current scenario there shows bloodstains on the stairs and walls with chairs, tables, books and bags strewn on the floor.
A widely circulated video shows a dark room with what seems like a crowd of students trapped inside. The person making the video, a female student, can be heard pleading for help and saying they’re in danger as she claims the police broke the glass and threw tear gas shells inside the dark room. Thousands of girls inside Begum Hazrat Mahal and J&K, girls Hostel(s) , waited with bated breaths as the explosions continued outside. They were asked to stay in their rooms, switch off the lights and push the bed against the door.
“We were all downstairs in the reception area where the medical students administered first aid to the injured. We were all scared, we could hear the tear gas shells and the explosions. It was scary, horrifying, to be honest.” says a resident of Begum Hazrat Mahal. “Suddenly, someone said we have to run. We all ran upstairs. It was truly frightening, we felt we would be left behind. After reaching our rooms, we switched off the lights, put our beds against the door and our phones on silent and waited. Just waited.” She further adds.
It is almost as if the police carried enough ammunition for a heavily armed enemy, when in reality they had to monitor unarmed students of a university that has remained largely apolitical. Could it be because the protesters were viewed as vermin? Did the police receive orders to weed them out or did they act on their own will?
Delhi police even broke into the Mosque in Gate Number 8 and beat up people offering Isha prayers. The Imam (priest) leading the prayer was beaten up. A video recorded by a student of the university shows the university guard narrating the incidents of brutality, how the police verbally abused him while he stopped them from beating up the Imam. The security guard, an ex Army Jawaan was beaten up by the police. He suffered injuries on his shin and forearm. The explanation given by them goes: since it didn’t look like a mosque, they barged inside. But what explains beating up people offering namaaz, the priests and an ex- army personnel other than an inherent bias and a sadistic pleasure from the chaos?
Earlier in the afternoon, vandalism at its finest was seen with Delhi Police setting fire to a bus before they framed the students for creating mayhem and disturbance in society. Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi, Manish Sisodia condemned this act as he told the news channels about this heinous act, said it was they who set the buses ablaze.
Police reportedly used rubber bullets to fire at protesters. There were also videos of open firing inside the campus. The barbaric behaviour reached its crescendo with police opening fire to disperse the crowd. Guns carried inside an educational institution which houses unarmed students by no one other than the ones supposed to be the protectors.
The university students reported their phones and WhatsApp groups flooded with pictures of friends who’d gone missing during the turbulence. Hundreds of students have been injured, owing to hits and blows on vital organs. Several lie in intensive care units. Several were hoarded like cattle into buses and taken to unknown locations, over hundred students were detained and kept in police stations. Lawyers, advocates and social activists were not allowed to intervene or even enter the police station. All of it happened in the course of a few hours.
The pandemonium was followed by the BJP IT cell circulating doctored videos of students chanting anti-Hindu slogans and several twitter users changing identities to Muslim names to support the CAA and NRC, all of it while #jamiaprotest trended #1 on Twitter.
The bravado of the students of Jamia did not go unnoticed; Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University students hit the streets and marched to the Police Headquarters to oppose the brutality exhibited by the police. Where international media from The New York Times to All Jazeera adressed the Jamia protests, journalists and public figures like Rana Ayyub, Swara Bhaskar, Rajkumar Rao, John Cussack and Umar Khalid expressed their dissent over the violence.
Today, just a day later, students of the whole nation stand in solidarity with Jamians as AMU, AASU, TISS, IIT Madras and Bombay, BHU and Presidency College protest against the police crackdown. Jamians continue to protest silently, with perseverance and strength that looks injustice in the eyes and gives it a challenge.
B.A. (Hons.) English, Jamia Millia Islamia