Jamia 'Varsity: Hapless Victims Cry for Justice
On 11.4.2000 Jansatta (a Hindi Daily) reported that Delhi police in brutal lathicharge seriously injured and arrested 140 inmates of Shafiqur Rehman Kidwai Hostel of Jamia Millia Islamia, one of the central Universities of Delhi. The report said that many students were thrown out from second and third floors of the hostel by the police, in which Azad Ali received grievous head injury and was battling for life. Sensing the seriousness of the matter, a team comprising of its President, Justice R.B. Mehrotra, Dr. Anup Saraya, Ms. Jahanara, Dr. Gopa Joshi, of Delhi PUCL went to Jamia Millia on 13.4.2000 to study the situation. The team inspected the scene of police lathicharge and saw:
The team was in the campus for three and half hours. Besides inspecting the scene of police brutality, it talked to a large number of the students, who gave their version of the incidents. It met the vice-chancellor, Mr. Syed Shahid Mahdi of the University and the DCP, Mr. Yadav and additional DCP, Mr. Vivek Gogia.
Verbatim Account of the Incident: The students told the team that on 9th April, 2000 police came to the university library to pick up two students. It was opposed by the students and in protest, they blocked the road. The police called reinforcements and resorted to lathi charge on the students. However, the Provost intervened and persuaded the students to go back to their hostels. Once the students reached the hostel, all of sudden the police attacked them and unleashed the trail of terror with full vengeance. The students told the team members that the police entered the campus without the permission of the University authorities. The Provost, Dr. Mohd. Sami who opposed such a forceful entry was also beaten up by the police. The students said that they were preparing for their annual examinations and the police barged into their rooms, caught them off the guard and beat them up mercilessly. On seeing their fellow students, beaten up some of them tried to escape by hiding in the bathrooms or jumping to the ground from Ist, lInd and IIIrd floors. The police, to the dismay of fleeing students, were waiting on the ground to prowl upon them. The ones, thus caught were beaten there. The few who managed to escape were chased by police dogs. Many students hid themselves in the foundation that is being dug up by the labourers to construct a workshop for the Mechanical Engineering Department near the hostel. The students were grateful to the construction labourers, who helped some of them to escape police brutality and hide in the bushes.
The ones who were hiding in the bathrooms were caught by the police thereafter forcefully breaking open the bathrooms. The team inspected the broken bathroom and took photographs. In one of the bathrooms the glass of the ventilator had been removed. The team was told that the police threw down one of the hiding students from there. The washbasin and water pipe of the bathrooms was dismantled by the police.
The ones caught by the police were beaten with lathis. We saw broken police lathis in the rooms of these students. The ones sporting beard had their beard pulled,. while doing this the police was using filthy words and abusing the student for following a particular faith.
Not that the students following other faiths escaped police brutality. The team went to the room 112 occupied by Debashish Bhattacharjee, member, cultural committee who was also meted out the same treatment. The team was also told that Manish of Room No. 13 was also brutally beaten up. The team members also met Ashutosh of B.Tech (Final year). His account of police tortures was no different from others. These students were first beaten up in their rooms and then they were dragged or thrown over the stairs to - the ground floor and beaten up on the road. The policemen standing on both the sides of staircases were beating these students while they were being dragged. The students said on an average 6 policemen were beating one student. Two students were dragged and thrown in the gutter to provide amusement to the policemen. The chappals and sandals of the two were still lying in the gutter as a tell-tale sigh of the inhuman behaviour of the police.
In Room no. 316, 3-4 students were studying. On seeing the police breaking open Room no. 315, and beating the students, they jumped down. Mohd. Rashid, while jumping, hit the wall and injured his leg.
Shahnawaz of M.Sc. (Final) saw the students in Room no. 208 caught and beaten by the police. To escape he jumped down from the second floor. Mohd. Zia-ul Haq of B.Tech (1st Year) hid in the bathroom. When police reached there and knocked, he opened the door and begged for mercy. But was not spared. Tahir of B.B.S. (2nd Year) resident of Room No. 325 jumped from IlIrd floor to lInd floor and from IInd to ground floor, only to be caught by the police and beaten up.
Even the handicapped student Riyasat Mallick could, not arouse any human feelings. He was also badly beaten up.
The guests were also rounded up. Dr. Nuruddin of Safdarjung Hospital had gone to meet his brother-in-law. He was also rounded up with Asif Mohd. Of M.A. (Prev.) (Hindi) and Alamgir of B.A. (Final) Hindi and taken to New Friends Colony Police Station. From there they were transferred to Srinivaspuri Police Station, where policemen mercilessly beat them up. The team was told that one student was at a time receiving 10 lathi blows.
All the rooms that were broken open bore signs of destruction unleashed by the police. The team found a pattern in it -broken doors and window panes, personal belongings strewn all over the rooms, furniture upturned and broken, badly damaged beds, upturned suit cases and ransacked almirahs were common sight. The valuables including cash, cameras, watches, calculators and even personal documents like passports, certificates were illegally taken by the police.
Another pattern reported to the team was: the students, who were severely injured, were sent. to Tihar jail and those who did not reveal their injuries were released later. [A list of students with blunt injuries, who did not even get themselves medically examined for fear of being caught and arrested by the police has been prepared by the team.]
In room nos. 7, 124 and 315, curtain rods. were found in twisted form. These were used to beat the students when police lathis broke down, which were also found lying in these rooms.
Even the bikes of the students parked on the ground floor were damaged by the police. In room no. 220 the dinner thalis were found with food scattered all over. Even the school students studying for their exams in the Jamia's Central Library were not spared. Abid Hussain of class XII -Science was badly beaten and taken into custody. Mohd. Kamran of XII - Arts is among the missing list. Four others from class XI were also picked. up by the police.
At the Srinivaspuri Police Station about 70 students were detained in a small room and beaten the night over. The students were even threatened that they would be killed and thrown into the river. Students also told the team that charged sticks having current were used to beat them up.
The students alleged that II boys were detained illegally in Srinivaspuri Police Station and tortured. The team members were told, by Ashutosh, B.Tech (Final) student, who resides in Room no. 101, about one such illegal detention. He said on receiving a phone call that Yassir was in the custody of Srinivaspuri Police Station he went there to find out. But the policemen on duty denied that they had Yassir in their custody. When the students insisted on seeing the custody room, the police transported the persons under its custody in a truck. The students identified Yassir sitting in the truck and called out. Yassir also looked up. But the policemen on duty immediately bent his head.
Asim of M.Sc. (Pre.) has blunt injury on his back. He told the team that the SHO of Hauz Khas Police Station was polite and courteous to the students taken there. But the police personnel posted in the Srinivaspuri and. New Friends Colony Police Stations were very cruel to the students. The ones begging for mercy were hit by lathis at the back of their fingers. Asim, himself was dragged and mercilessly beaten by the police.
Even the foreign students were not spared. Foreign students complained that they told the police about their foreign identity and wanted to show their passports. "However, the police did not pay any need to their pleas and handled them cruelly. The team members met Abdul, M.A. (Final) English. He. is from Yemen. He was dragged and one policeman held him while the other beat up. He resides in room no. 313.
One Uzbekistan student named Akram of B.A. (Eco). Final residing in room no. 223, while his room was being broken open, jumped down and escaped. Atique of M.A. (Eco) Final and Shaheenuddin of B.B.S. (1st year), both from Bangladesh have received blunt injuries. They were also taken to Srinivaspuri. Police Station and beaten. They resided in room no. 313. Their room was also broken open and ransacked by the police. Abdul Haje of M.Sc. (Pre.) and Tariqul Islam of B.A. (Eco) first year, from Bangladesh were made to hold each, other's ears and then, were beaten up by police. Tariq's finger was fractured by the police. In police custody they were not allowed even to answer the nature's call.
Year Students, Toppers, Champions loose their Careers
Naushad Ali (topper) was in Tihar Jail. Aslam Sher Khan (Diploma Engg.) Final year in Tihar jail. Shamim (M.A.) Final Geography' in Tihar Jail. Iqbal Karimi BA. (Hons.) Arabic Final year hand fractured. Shami Ahmad, B.A. (Hons.) IIIrd year was preparing to go to Canada, was in Tihar Jail as told to the team. Abid appearing in I2th and preparing for competitive entrance tests for Engineering was picked up from Library, badly beaten up and detained. He was released after two days. He is still reported to be in pathetic physical and mental state. Sami Ahmad - hands and feet fractured and is in Tihar jail. Jawwad Hussain M.A. (Arabic) topper has blunt injury in the back. Indad Hussain, BIBF Final year student and captain of the University football team has lost all his certificates. He has played at the national and international level. In the absence of the documents he was not sure how he could pursue his sports career. The door of Room no. 116 was broken open and all personal goods of Sarfaraz Hussain Rizvi are either destroyed or stolen. The team was told that many final year engineering students had obtained campus selection. Besides preparing for finals, they were also preparing for the new assignments.
After inspecting the hostel the team want to visit the vice-chancellor of the University at his residence. The vice-chancellor categorically denied having given any permission to the police to enter the University Campus by him or by any other member of his staff. He said when the incident took place he had gone out of the campus. When he returned around l0:15 p.m. his car was cordoned near Zakir Bagh. After great difficulty he could enter the University where he found darkness and smoke of teargas shells and on the road in front of the hostel he saw blood littered all around.
The team met the DCP of the area Mr. Sudhir Yadav at the Jamia Campus, where he agreed to talk to the team at the NFC Police Station at 1.30 p.m. But when the team reached the Police Station, he refused to answer any questions saying, that he needed Departmental permission to talk to the team.
However, the team was able to get a copy of FIR lodged by the police on 9.4.2000. As per the FIR. police had gone to the )amia to catch a student against whom FIR was lodged. .The student resented and did not allow the police to arrest him and instead resorted to jam the traffic. Further police force was called to control the students which provoked the students and they started stoning the police from the SRK, Pink House, White House and Sartaj Hostel surrounding the police. Meanwhile police forces from Ambedkar Nagar, K.M. Pur, Hauz Khas, Defence Colony and outside force joined in and lathi-charged the students and finally were able to control the students having driven them into SRK hostel.
[The team has been provided a list of missing students.] According to the student version, the students mentioned in the list are not, traceable after the incident. The team has also been provided a list of 66 students who were detained in jail. According to the students all the 66 students who were detained in jail have received grievous hurt. Out of these student, the students have informed that, II students were not sent to Tihar jail on 10th morning. They were illegally detained in Srinivaspuri Police Station for more than 24 hours without being produced before the duty magistrate and were sent to Tihar jail on 11.4.2000.
Subsequent to the visit of the team it has been reported to us that out of. 66 students 64 have been released on bail on 13.4.2000. Out of these 64 students most of them have serious injuries on their person. After their release they had to be sent to the AIIMS for medical check-up. As per the information received by the team on 15.4.2000, 30 of these have head injuries, 18 have suffered hand and wrist fractures, 12 have leg fractures. 5 of them are in critical condition, one was operated upon and steel rod was inserted in the wrist.
Conclusions: After inspecting the scene and talking to all concerned, the team came to the conclusion that:
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