Entered Jamia campus to rescue students trapped inside, police tells court

The plea, filed through advocates Asghar Khan and Tariq Nasir, also sought registration of FIR against relevant provisions of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

Delhi Police told a court on Monday that it was constrained to enter the Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) on December 15 last year to contain the violence and rescue innocent students trapped inside as "rioters" had entered the campus during anti-CAA protests and pelted stones at police personnel and public from inside.

The submissions were made in the Action Taken Report (ATR) filed before Metropolitan Magistrate Rajat Goyal during the hearing of a plea seeking registration of FIR against alleged police attack on students on the campus during protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

The court has put up the matter for further hearing on April 7. The police said as it was not possible to distinguish between the trapped students and rioters, who were found to be having petrol bombs earlier, all were asked to be evacuated with their "hands up".

The ATR said: "With a view to contain the violence and maintain law and order, the police was constrained to enter the campus. The police personnel could successfully contain the violent activity by temporarily apprehending 52 persons under the Delhi police Act. During the incident in Jamia a large number of police officials and public persons got injured.

"The action was required to be taken in light of the ongoing violence from within the varsity campus and to rescue the innocent students trapped inside and to ensure normalcy. As it was not possible for the police to distinguish between the trapped students and rioters who were found to be having petrol bombs earlier, all were asked to be evacuated with their 'hands up' since this exercise was undertaken as it was already dark in the late evening."

The police further submitted that the rioters had destroyed/damaged the lights within the varsity campus and, therefore, it was difficult to distinguish between the innocent students and rioters.

No student has been arrested so far in the case, it said.

The police said that on December 15, 2019 it received an input that some students of the university along with alumni and other persons would assemble in large numbers at the campus for protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The police claimed that local leaders and politicians were instigating the protestors and were raising extremely provocative and inciting slogans and the mob was armed with lathis, stones, tube lights and petrol bombs.

The ATR said: "From the conduct of the mob and provocative slogans beng shouted by the mob, it was clear that the intention of the mob was not to stage a peaceful protest but was to indulge in some violent activity. the deployment of the anti-riot staff and equipment was done as per the standard protocol/ operating procedures of the Delhi police in similar situations when there is apprehension of breach of law and order."

The unruly mob which was slowly retreating back, instead of dispersing, strategically went inside JMI and by using the varsity campus as cover started pelting stones, tube-lights and other objects resulting in grievous injuries to police personnel and public persons while raising extremely provocative slogans, police alleged.

The report further said: "The mob was incessantly pelting bricks, bottled, stones, petrol bombs etc on the police present on the spot due to which several police personnel sustained grievous injuries. Tear gas shells and moderate force were used to disperse and push back this unlawful assembly by various teams.

"This unlawful assembly in different groups entered inside the university from both sides of the university roads and now stones were being pelted from three sides. It was clear that some miscreants have also entered in the university complex. Considering the heavy stones, glass bottles and tube-lights pelting from the inside the campus, the police had to reach outside the campus, so as to avoid any untoward incident."

The police claimed that they tried to control the violent mob by using loud speaker and requested them not to take law in their hands but they did not pay any heed to the warning/lawful directions of police and kept on damaging the public property.

The complaint, filed by the the Registrar of JMI University, claimed that police officials had "illegally" entered the campus on December 15, 2019 when the students were protesting peacefully against the newly amended law and attacked students with tear gas shells, lathi charge and open firing.

The plea, filed through advocates Asghar Khan and Tariq Nasir, also sought registration of FIR against relevant provisions of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

The petition further claimed that despite repeated complaints to the police by the varsity administration to lodge an FIR against the alleged police attack, no action has been taken till date.

"The students of the University were mercilessly beaten, hurled abuses, racial and derogatory comments were herald, tear gas shells were fired, lathi charge was done. That some of the police officials without any just cause broke open the main library gate and also the doors and windows of the library building and fired tear gas shells on peaceful studying students even inside the library," it alleged.

It added the police also allegedly detained several students at various police stations.

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