The Delhi Police did use firearms to control the mob during the December 15 citizenship amendment act protests held by students of Jamia Millia Islamia, officers now admit in private. The officers had fired in the air in self-defence as the situation threatened to go out of hand and an entry on it has been found in the daily diary that is maintained at every police station, a senior police officer told NDTV on condition of anonymity. The police have been investigating several videos of the protests where officers were seen firing handguns.
The area in the Mathura Road where this took place was swarming with protesters throwing stones, the officer said. The police were surrounded and faced heavy attack and an officer had fired in the air in self-defence, a senior officer said.
Violence had broken out during the protest against the contentious citizenship law, with the police and protesters seen engaged in virtually a pitched battle in a posh south Delhi locality. The protesters threw stones at the police, who retaliated with batons and tear gas.
Later, there were claims that the police had used firearms, but this was categorically denied by the Delhi Police. The suspected gunshot wounds, they said, could be injuries from shards of tear gas canisters.
By late evening videos were circulated on social media that showed policemen firing and an investigation was ordered.
One of the videos showed a policeman drawing out a gun and opening fire. After firing in the air, he was seen running towards a bylane and more gunshots rang out. At least four gunshots were heard in the video.
The video correlated with another cellphone video, purportedly shot in the same area, which showed a protester falling from what appeared to be a gunshot injury. Before he fell, a police officer, presumably the one from the first video who was firing, was seen emerging from behind a bus.
The protester, Ajaz, a student at Jamia University, was admitted to Delhi's Safdarjung hospital.