Communal Slurs, Pellets & Lathis: Allahabad HC orders UP govt to compensate 6 AMU students grievously injured by police excesses

Allahabad HC directs UP Govt to compensate students injured by UP police at AMU protests against CAA after an inquiry was ordered into the incident

The Allahabad HC on Monday directed the Chief Secretary Govt. of Uttar Pradesh to provide suitable compensation to 6 students who were grievously injured by the U.P. Police’s brutal and inhumane action upon the protesting students of Aligarh Muslim University on December 14 and 15, 2019.

The Court has acted promptly and so has the NHRC in conducting an enquiry and ordering relief, what has gone missing however, is accountability and punitive action against the erring personnel and those giving them orders.

The NHRC was directed by the HC on January 7, 2020, to initiate an inquiry into the matter. While the bench comprising Chief Justice Govind Mathur and Justice Vivek Varma observed that the NHRC was not a party to the writ petition filed by Adv. Mohd. Aman Khan(a practicing advocate of Allahabad HC and a former student of AMU ), it opined that it was best for the NHRC to look into the matter since it was already inquiring into a similar matter concerning excesses of Delhi Police upon the protesting students of Jamia Milia Islamia University, New Delhi.

In pursuance of the directions given by the HC on January 7, 2020, an inquiry was conducted by a six members team of National Human Rights Commission. The report submitted by the team has been accepted by the Commission. A copy of the report along with order of proceedings was sent to the HC by the Registrar (Law) of the National Human Rights Commission.

The Bench accepted the recommendations of NHRC in toto and ordered compliance reports to be filed by the next hearing fixed on March 25, 2020.

The recommendations made by the Commission are as under:

“Upon consideration of the facts discussed above, the Hon’ble Commission may be recommended to consider the following:


  1. Directing the Chief Secretary Govt. of Uttar Pradesh to provide suitable compensation to the six students who have been grievously injured commensurate with their injuries, on humanitarian grounds.

  2. 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. A suitable action may also be taken against them as per rules and provisions that exist for subordinate officers in UP Police. The police force should be sensitized and special training modules be carried out to inculcate professionalism in handling such situations.

  3. Similar directions as in point (b) above may also be given to the Director General, CRPF for RAF. RAF being a specialized force primarily set up to deal with riots and handle law and order situations, should show utmost professionalism in such crisis situations while at the same time, respecting the human rights of civilians also.

  4. Directing DGP of UP, to ensure that the SIT set up vide his order dated 06/01/2020 investigates all the related cases on merits and in a time bound manner. The Hon’ble court may also like to set the time limit and periodic review, if any, for the completion of investigations on time.

  5. The DGP UP and Senior Officers are also advised to improve and set up a robust intelligence gathering system. Special steps may be taken to counter rumour mongering and circulation of distorted and false news especially on the social media. This is to better control such law and order incidents which occur spontaneously and unexpectedly.

  6. To direct the AMU-Vice Chancellor, Registrar and other authorities to establish a mechanism of better communication with the students’ fraternity so that they are not influenced by outsiders and rusticated unruly students. They should take up all confidence building measures to rebuild the trust of students so that such incidents do not occur in future.”


The approach taken by the HC in the present case may provide namesake relief to the injured students, however, the need of the hour is policing the UP police and the State Government which ordered the Rapid Action Force to carry out what clearly appears to be a brutal lathi charge, rubber bullet and pellet firing upon the protesting students.

The contingent of police reportedly forcefully entered different parts of the Universityincluding library, hostels, classrooms, offices, etc. and brutally behavedwith students, consequent to that several students suffered serious injuries. The police officials reportedly, intentionally assaulted the students and alsovandalized the vehicles parked in the University campus near library. Thestudents in a big number were detained at different places by the Stateagencies and no medical aid was provided to them. The detained students were also alleged to be brutally tortured. On December 16, 2019, theRegistrar of the University issued notices to all the students to vacate thehostels though no reason was there to do so.

In its January 7, order, the HC observes that “Sri Colin Gonsalves, learned Senior Advocate while referring the observations made by the Supreme Court Extra Judicial ExecutionVictim Families Association and another Vs. Union of India and othersreported in 2017 (8) SCC 417 states that the inquiry or investigation bythe National Human Rights Commission is of civil nature and that too isnot an effective measure to bring the culprits of doing wrong to board.According to him, looking to the facts of the case, it would be appropriateto constitute a Special Investigating Team to investigate the entire matter.He has suggested names of three former Officer of Uttar Pradesh Police tobe nominated as member of the SIT.”

Even then, the HC preferred that an inquiry be done by the NHRC, which cannot initiate criminal action against the Police Personnel at fault. Also, the quantum of damages to be paid to the petitioner according to the NHRC recommendations to the HC are to be decided by the ‘Chief Secretary Govt. of Uttar Pradesh’. The rationale behind having the government itself decide the quantum of damages to be paid to those injured by its own doing seems unclear. Further, the compensation is to be paid on ‘humanitarian grounds’, which gives the impression of a charitable act on the side of the government, instead of being a punitive action for the offences unleashed by its officers.

Although the Court has accepted the recommendation of the NHRC to direct the DGP-Uttar Pradeshto constitute a Special Investigating Team to investigate the officers ‘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’ and the same for the RAF as well, it would have been a welcome relief if the SIT could be constituted in a more independent method, and perhaps the names of former U.P. police officers recommended by Senior Counsel for the Petitioner could be considered for the same.

While 23 people in U.P. have died from bullet wounds at the hands of the UP Police, no personnel of the armed police has suffered any major injuries. This striking fact was put up by the Chief Justice to the Attorney General, when an argument was that the protesting students were violent and carried arms. The Police reportedly burned down a Hostel, thrashed over 100 students who sustained injuries, 3 of them are in critical condition, and 2 students had to have their arms amputated.

Independent fact finding reports on the incident prepared by NGO Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) and the jury of the People’s Tribunal on State Action in UP (Karwan e Mohabbat), ascertain that the police used rabid communal slurs against the protesters. The HRLN’s Report notes that “The entire incident is a shocking display of police brutality and impunity in the face of peaceful democratic protests by AMU students. The police actions seem not only brutal but also vindictive motivated by a desire to ‘show students their place’.

All witnesses we spoke to recalled the police was hurling insults and abuses of a rabidly communal nature at the students and the university at large. These communal abuses were being shouted even before they lathi-charged the protest, and only intensified as they moved further into the university, targeting individual students with their lathis, tear gas shells, rubber bullets and pellets.

At the first instance, it seems clear that the large scale violence carried out by the police and RAF forces was excessive, brutal and completely disproportionate to the stated objective of breaking up a protest. And the culpability for this large scale violence against peaceful students lies with the police and RAF as well as the university administration which allowed them in.”

The Court has acted promptly and so has the NHRC in conducting an enquiry and ordering relief, what has gone missing however, is accountability and punitive action against the erring personnel and those giving them orders.

The excesses of the UP Police and the Delhi Police against peaceful protesters and students should not be covered up in piece-meal relief orders of compensation. It is time that the Courts rap the knuckles of those in the Executive responsible for high handed actions upon the dissenting members of the public.



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