Despite vehement denials, the Uttar Pradesh police may have entered hostels, thrashed students and indulged in vandalism at the Aligarh Muslim University on Sunday night while dealing with a student protest over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, videos have shown.
On Sunday, the Uttar Pradesh police broke up an anti-Citizenship Act protest at the Aligarh Muslim University gates in the west UP town using a lathi-charge and tear gas. The police said they had to use force after the protesting students turned violent and threw stones at the main gates of the university. The university administration called in the cops and once the violence was over, orders to shut the university for 20 days and empty all hostels in 24 hours were handed out. Many students were injured in the police action, some activists put the number at 150 and a few students have sustained serious injuries like fractures. Policemen including a DIG rank officer were also injured.
Uttar Pradesh's Director General of Police O P Singh had categorically told NDTV on Monday, the night after the violence, that the police did not enter any hostel inside the campus and stayed close to the vice chancellor's office. The statement was contrary to multiple testimonies from students who claimed the cops barged into hotels, fired tear gas inside rooms and vandalised furniture and vehicles. Many students have alleged they were dragged out of their hostels by the police and illegally detained for up to 24 hours.
"No, no. We never reached hostels. We were confined to the VC lodge. We did not got towards the hostels," UP's police chief OP Singh told NDTV on Monday, a day after the violence.
Now, evidence from CCTV cameras outside the Morison Court hostel at the university seem to back the student's claims. CCTV footage accessed by NDTV shows police entering the hostel with batons and riot gear. A police can be seen pushing bikes to the ground outside the hostel. Later in the footage, cops can be seen dragging a student from inside the hostel and assaulting him with batons before pushing him into an anti-riot vehicle. Another student can be seen being lathi-charged by the police."
"At the time we were pushing the students back so it is possible that the cops used minimum force to push them back but as such we did not enter anywhere and assault people. I have not seen the CCTV footage but the Supreme Court and High Court are hearing the case, we will also present our evidence. Whatever the court decides, it is under their consideration. I am accepting that there was a lathi-charge and minimum use of force so I am not denying it," Aligarh Police Chief Akash Kulhary said in an interview, contradicting the Director General of Police.