The Aligarh Muslim University has decided to file a complaint against the Uttar Pradesh police over "excesses" committed during their crackdown on students protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act last month.
Police had entered the campus with the Vice Chancellor's permission on December 15, after an attempt to prevent students from taking out a protest march in solidarity with their counterparts from Delhi's Jamia Millia University resulted in violence at its gates. The Jamia campus had witnessed violence during a protest against the controversial law earlier that day.
One of the main accusations levelled against the Uttar Pradesh police by university authorities pertain to their entering residential spaces on the campus and brutalising their residents. "Aligarh Muslim University Vice Chancellor Tariq Mansoor has announced that the university will submit an application for lodging an FIR against police personnel for entering a university hostel, namely Morrison Court of Aftab Hall," a press release issued by Rahat Abrar, consultant public relations officer at the institution, said.
The university authorities claimed that while police were granted permission to restore "normalcy" on the campus and "clear the main road" of protesters, they were not supposed to enter any residential hostel. "Evidence brought to the knowledge of the university administration suggest that police personnel might have crossed the mandate by entering the Morrison Court Hostel premises," the release read.
Over 60 were injured in the crackdown on the Aligarh Muslim University that day, and one of the students was even forced to get his hand amputated.
The Uttar Pradesh Police have dismissed reports of any excesses on their part. "No, no. We never reached the hostels. We were confined to the VC lodge. We did not got towards the hostels," said Director General of Police OP Singh a day after the violence.
Senior Superintendent of Police Ashish Kulhari claimed they only used minimal force against students. "We have said from the start that the AMU students were aggressive. They deliberately threw stones at us. We only used non-lethal weapons on them to defend ourselves and disperse the protesters," he told news agency ANI.
Their denials notwithstanding, videos from the day suggested that police may have entered hostels, assaulted students and indulged in vandalism. In footage accessed by NDTV, a policeman could be seen pushing parked motorbikes to the ground while his colleagues drag a student from inside a hostel and beat him with batons. Another student could be seen being lathi-charged by the police.
The Citizenship Amendment Act, for the first time, makes religion the test of citizenship in India. The government says it will help minorities from three Muslim-dominated countries get citizenship if they fled to India because of religious persecution before 2015. Critics say it is designed to discriminate against Muslims and violates the secular principles of the constitution.