NEW DELHI — Scores of students and protesters sustained injuries after the Delhi Police entered the Jamia Millia Islamia campus Sunday evening and thrashed those protesting against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act.
Hundreds of people — including students of Jamia Millia Islamia — protesting the citizenship law clashed with police in south Delhi, turning the area into a war zone.
Buses were set ablaze and batons and tear gas were used against the students and cops were seen chasing protesters through the streets.
According to videos coming out of the area, lathi-charge and teargas were freely used against protesters. According to eyewitnesses, students were beaten up in the Jamia library and even inside mosques on the campus. There were also unconfirmed reports of three students getting killed in clashes.
भाजपा सरकार द्वारा जामिया यूनिवर्सिटी में लाइब्रेरी-हॉस्टल में घुस कर आँसु गैस छोड़ना, युवाओं को मारना पीटना कहाँ वाजिब है?
— Randeep Singh Surjewala (@rssurjewala) December 15, 2019
Waseem Ahmed Khan, Chief Proctor, Jamia Millia Islamia University said: “Police have entered the campus by force, no permission was given. Our staff and students are being beaten up and forced to leave the campus”.
A journalist was also thrashed by the police. Bushra Sheikh, a journalist, said: “I came here for BBC’s coverage, they (police) took away my phone, broke it. A male police personnel pulled my hair. They hit me with a baton&when I asked them for my phone they hurled abuses at me. I didn’t come here for fun, I came here for coverage”.
“Delhi police and rapid force attacked Jamia students. They are constantly firing teargas in the campus. There is complete panic here,” said Miran Haider, one of the protesters.”
Am getting sos messages from students inside #Jamia , including women, saying police is inside and there is a mass crackdown on students. I am not sharing these videos for the moment as I believe they may inflame the situation further. @DelhiPolice must respond & give clarity
— barkha dutt (@BDUTT) December 15, 2019
Two firemen have been injured and one fire tender has been damaged in the protests.
In a statement released shortly after the violence broke out, the students disassociated themselves from the violence and said they had repeatedly “maintained our protests are peaceful and non-violent.
“We have time and again maintained that our protests are peaceful and non-violent. We stand by this approach and condemn any party involved in the violence. We have maintained calm even when students have been lathi-charged and some women protestors have been badly beaten up,” the statement said, adding that violence “by certain elements” was an attempt to vilify and discredit genuine protests.
As a precautionary measure, Delhi Police have advised all entry and exit gates of Sukhdev Vihar metro have been closed. At Ashram Gate metro, gate number 3 has been closed and security deployed, reported IANS.
The roads around the area have been closed to traffic since. All those injured in the commotion was rushed to Holy Family Hospital nearby.
Huge traffic snarls were experienced throughout south Delhi area, from Ashram to Friends Colony to Kalindi Kunj. Police diverted traffic from the vicinity as pitched battles continued.
For over an hour Mathura Road opposite New Friends Colony’s both carriageways were blocked by demonstrators. and Delhi Traffic Police tweeted that all movement was closed from Okhla Underpass to Sarita Vihar due to the demonstration.
Delhi Fire Chief, Atul Garg told IANS a call was made at 4.42 p.m. that buses were set ablaze. “We had sent four fire tenders which were also attacked by a violent mob,” the official said. “Our vehicle was damaged and two firemen were injured. They are in hospital.
“There is so much mob accumulation in the area that we have failed to reach the spot, and the traffic jam has also added to the problem.”
A statement issued by the Jamia Milia University said that students were not involved in the burning of buses. “It is done by some outsiders who want to disrupt the peace in the university and the locality around it.”