On December 15, however, AMU students had not planned a protest but a solidarity march to stand with students of Jamia Milia Islamia University in Delhi who had been subjected to ‘state sponsored’ violence by the police.
As per the report here’s how the protests at AMU unfolded:
On December 8, students held peaceful protest and set copies of the Citizenship (Amendment) Billon fire.
On December 9, the AMU students held talks against the bill at the Lawns of Kennedy Auditorium
Between December 10 to December 12, there were peaceful protests, lectures were organised, there was a mass hunger strike by 28,000 students and many protest meetings were held.
On 13th December 2019, AMU Students Union led a Mega Protest Rally attended by over 10,000 students whereby they marched towards the District Magistrate’s office with a memorandum addressed to the CJI, ArvindBobdeasking him to take cognisance of Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019.
December 15 onwards, the University was turned into a police garrison and a massive crackdown was unleashed on the students which was allowed by the University administration in the know-how of the Vice Chancellor of the University. The hostels within the University were forcibly vacated and sealed, internet was shut down and the university was turned into a war zone. The University was declared shut from December 15 onwards due disturbances created by some “anti-social elements” said the notice issued by the University.
On December 15, the students were gathering to stand on solidarity with the students of JMI, Delhi and to condemn the acts of police brutality unleashed on the JMI students. There was only sloganeering, no body from the University administration reached out to the students’ union to warn against anti-social elements. There were non-student faces who infiltrated in the protests, they were wearing masks and were aged over 40.
The police brutality
The report also denied reports of stone pelting done by students citing Hindi newspapers reporting that AMU campus has been cleaned and no stones or bricks are on the road sides. So, massive stone pelting from the campus was simply impossible.
The report confirms that police used tear gas, pellet guns, pistols, rifles, stun grenades. The police used abusive language, religious slurs and there are videos showing ruthless beating of students above waist height and RAF (Rapid Action Force) personnel pointing guns at male students.
The AMUSU president was hit at his chest to prevent him from leading the protests and ensuring that the same remain peaceful, as he has been successful in doing so in the past. The CMO of Trauma Centre of JNMCH (Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College and Hospital) refused to send ambulances to AMU as the Proctor of the University had directed him to do so. Yet, the head of JNMC Resident Doctors’ Association managed to arrange 16 ambulances to be sent to the university which managed to save many lives of the students.
Police unleashed extreme brutality on not just the students; they damaged university property, students’ property on campus, ambulance drivers, medical professionals (including Dr. Kashif, Secretary Resident Doctors Association), AMU employees and many of the AMU gate keepers were hurt, one ICU ambulance was also vandalised.
Police even entered premises where students were in fact hiding from them, such as Aftab Hall, and fired tear shells and sound shell in the room which forced the insiders to vacate the room after which they were mercilessly beaten which has been caught on CCTV, and were thereafter detained.
The image below is of a hostel room, set on fire by police
Image Courtesy: the AMUSU report
Image Courtesy: the AMUSU report
The police, reportedly, ‘tortured whoever came their way’. They broke into toilets and beat up students hiding from police, with rods and gun butts, they were abused, forced to recite Jai Shri Ram, were abused with words like Pakistani, Deshdrohi (traitor), attankwadi (terrorist), anti-national.
Some images reported by news media clearly show use of brute force and firing within campus.
Image courtesy: the AMUSU report
Testimonies of students
The report also includes testimonies from students wherein there are horrid stories of a student from Jammu and Kashmir who was tied to a tree and beaten up, was called a Pakistani and was kept in a dark room through the night.
Another student who was dragged out of a toilet and beaten not just within campus but also when taken to Malkan Singh Hospital, he was beaten with belts, was denied food for the night and was kept in jail with 9 people in a room that had a capacity for 5. He was later taken to the hospital and was forced to sign on a piece of paper, the contents of which are unknown.
Another student who was running away from the violence was hit by a stun grenade. He lost his dominant hand and in his other hand, he lost 4 fingers.
There are many more stories like these, more than 100 injured students left the JNMC hospital for the fear of profiling and reprisal from police. More than 50 students booked under various sectionsof the Indian Penal Code.
Complicity of University Authorities, demands of students
The report clearly states that the VC, Tariq Mansoor and the registrar, Abdul Hamid were highly complicit with the police and the state and failed to protect the students of a University which is older than India’s independence and the AMUSU has demanded the resignation of both these people in power.
The report, in culmination, called upon the teachers of the University to take account of the number of the students injured, number of students detained and loss caused to property of the University, to form a legal team to assist lawyers in pursuing cases of AMU students and to prepare a comprehensive and detailed report on the events that unfolded in the university.
The report even called upon the President of India, who is the Visitor to the University to visit the campus and meet students who were subjected to state sponsored violence. The report also demanded a High-Profile Enquiry by the sitting judge of Supreme Court of India in the 15th December State Sponsored Violence at AMU; immediate restoration of university functioning and academic activity; immediate revocation of farcical charges against AMU Students and registration of FIR, among other things.
The AMUSU, through the report declared that their protest will continue and they will continue to reject NRC and CAA.
The entire report can be read here.