Video Shows Police Using Force In Jamia Library, Triggers Political Storm

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A two-month old video shows cops thrashing students at a reading hall of Jamia University.

New Delhi:

A video clip from a closed-circuit television purportedly showing the Delhi Police beating up students inside the reading room of Jamia Millia Islamia on December 15, has triggered political storm. While the Congress said it showed the brutality of the police on unarmed students, the BJP claimed that it proved that students involved in the mayhem that took place during that day’s anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) protests had taken shelter in the library.

The CCTV footage – made public by an association of Jamia students and alumni — showed a group of students sitting in the university’s Old Reading Hall (M Phil Section). Suddenly several policemen in riot gear are seen walking in and beating up the students with batons. A man being beaten tries to duck the blows. Before the police enter, there is commotion in the room, as a man sitting at a desk hides under a table. Another is seen rushing around looking for cover.

The University has distanced itself from the clip, saying it came from the students.

In a series of tweets, Amit Malviya – in charge of the BJP’s information cell — said the students had given themselves away with the video.

Another tweet read:

The Jamia Coordination Committee, which released the video, said Amit Malviya’s surmise was incorrect.

“A few students had covered their face because of tear gas. No one can be seen with stones or raising slogans,” said the organisation.

The Congress said the video was evidence that the Delhi police claim — that they were targetting protesters who entered the library — was false. The police said they reached the library chasing protesters who threw stones and then ran inside.

“See how Delhi Police is badly thrashing the students. A boy is reading a book but a cop continues to beat him. Home Minister (Amit Shah) and Delhi Police had lied that they had not entered the library, thrashed the students,” senior party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted in Hindi.

“It is a fact that the police have mercilessly beaten the students. We all know that. It is a shameful act. It is very unfortunate that such an incident took place,” senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh said.

The police action on students in the library took place several hours after a protest march organised by the students ended in a pitched battle. The mob threw stones at the police when their march to the city centre was stopped. The police retaliated with batons and tear gas. By the end of it, three buses and several two wheelers were set ablaze, a fire tender was vandalized and two firemen were injured.

Later in the evening, the police detained a number of students. The university said the police had forcibly entered the campus and assaulted the students.

The Jamia students distanced themselves from the violence and some officers of the Delhi Police privately admitted that local thugs who joined the protest were responsible for it.

The use of excessive force on Jamia students had triggered protests across the campuses in the country and became a huge political flashpoint.



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