The Allahabad High Court has ordered UP Police to identify and act against cops who vandalised two-wheelers parked outside the Aligarh Muslim University during a violent face-off with students in December last year. The cops were caught on camera trashing bikes while their colleagues clashed with students trying to hold a solidarity march for counterparts in Delhi's Jamia Millia Islamia, where violence between police and anti-citizenship law protesters earlier in the day left over 60 students and cops injured.
In its order the court also asked the UP government to act on recommendations made by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which had conducted a separate investigation on direction by the High Court.
"Directing the DGP-Uttar Pradesh to identify the policemen (both district police and PAC), as seen in CCTV footages involved in stray incidents of damaging motorcycles and unnecessarily caning the apprehended students, which has no bearing on the task of controlling law and order," the court said today.
The order called for "suitable action" against the police officers, while also ordering "suitable compensation... on humanitarian grounds" to the six students who were injured during the clash.
It also asked university administration to establish better communication with the students.
On December 15, as Aligarh University students gathered for a late evening solidarity march, the police tried to stop them at the campus gates; they initially used batons before resorting to tear gas and water cannons. Disturbing visuals emerged later, showing some police officers smashing motorcycles on the streets of the city.
Intent on breaking up the protest, and not content with firing tear gas at students from outside campus gates, Aligarh Police also entered the university campus and allegedly barged into hostels, thrashed students and indulged in more vandalism.
Then-UP DGP, OP Singh, told NDTV, quite categorically, that cops did not enter the hostels and remained close to the Vice Chancellor's office.
However, CCTV footage suggested otherwise, as did multiple testimonies from students who also claimed tear gas had been fired inside hostel rooms and some were dragged away by the cops and detained, illegally, for up to 24 hours.
The violence in Aligarh University started hours after a peaceful anti-CAA protest march by students of Delhi's Jamia Millia descended into a pitched battle with the police.
Vehicles were set ablaze and vandalised and Delhi Police, already under fire for their conduct during last month's mob attack on Jawaharlal Nehru University students, entered the campus without permission and assaulted students, leaving some with grievous injuries.
Massive protests have swept the country against the citizenship law, including which makes religion test for citizenship for the first time in India. While government says it will grant citizenship to minorities from three Muslim-majority neighbouring countries, critics have called the law "anti-Muslim".