- Congress says video shows brutality of police on unarmed students
- BJP says it proves students involved in chaos took shelter in library
- Footage was made public by an association of Jamia students and alumni
Two videos from the library of Jamia university have shed more light on what happened on December 15, when the police allegedly entered the campus without permission and beat up students in the library. While one video, circulated by the students, shows the police using batons on the people inside, another, sent by police sources, shows a group of at least 50 people -- allegedly protesters -- streaming in, before some of them barricaded the door with huge tables.
The police action on students in the library took place several hours after a protest march organised by the students against the Citizenship Amendment Act 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.
The CCTV footage - made public by an association of Jamia students and alumni on Sunday -- 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 CCTV footage from the police sources show the Reading Room, where a group of people, many of them clad in hoodies, streamed in. One of them was seen clutching a stone. After they were inside, some men barred the door with tables.
The video circulated by the students triggered a 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 had taken shelter in the library.
The Congress said the video was evidence that the Delhi police claim that they had not entered the library was false. "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.
On the day of the event, the police denied entering the library. Asked about it, senior police officer MS Randhawa said the police had entered the areas where "basically tear gas was used". "It was an extraordinary situation," he had added, in a reference to rules that bar the police from entering any campus without the university authorities' approval.
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.
Good of Jamia rioters to self identify themselves. Agencies must use the video as evidence.— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) February 16, 2020
Another tweet read:
- Students in library with 'masks'— Amit Malviya (@amitmalviya) February 16, 2020
- Reading from shut books
- Looking anxiously towards the entrance rather than being relaxed and immersed in studies, which is what a library is meant for...
Anatomy of Jamia rioters who tried hiding in the library after a stone pelting session? pic.twitter.com/lgF8WnLVkP
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 Imran Chaudhary of the organisation.
The Jamia students had 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 the students had triggered protests across the campuses in the country and became a huge political flashpoint.