The night outside Delhi Police HQ
December 17, 2019
“I belong to the queer community and my partner is from Jamia. What happened at Jamia today is dehumanizing. My family and friends keep telling me to avoid participating in such protests because they are political. But tell me, what is not political today?” a young student from Ambedkar University questioned.
“Should we wait for being brutally lathi-charged and injured by the Delhi Police to protest?” she further questioned.
In spite of the cold on Sunday night, thousands of protestors assembled in front of the Delhi Police headquarters at ITO to protest against the barbaric way Jamia students were injured by Delhi Police.
The protesters, from various age-groups and different universities of Delhi like DU, JNU and Ambedkar University had assembled at very short notice. Several filmmakers, activists, lawyers and academics also joined in large numbers.
The headquarters had heavy police and CRPF presence, ready to contain the situation if the need arose.
“Isn’t this scary. Just look around. We are not going to go home tonight. Look at the shamelessness of the Police. We can be beaten anytime by them. Just look at their numbers,” Nivedita, a JNU student stated.
As the slogans of ‘Delhi Police Jamia Choro’ (Delhi Police leave Jamia), “Khoon baha hai Jamia mein, Kaun hai iska Zimmedar, Amit Shah!” (Who is responsible for the blood flowing in Jamia Campus? It is Amit Shah), and “Shame on Delhi Police’’ started echoing in the crowd, the anger and frustration of the protestors became more palpable.
“Few people from Batla House and Sarai Julena had started the protest yesterday. As students in Jamia were also protesting, the Delhi Police, when commanded to contain the situation, entered inside the campus without any authority’s permission. The students were injured with tear-gas and shells, in our library, hostels, and washrooms. Few boy students entered the girl’s hostel for safety, so now the Delhi Police has shut down the girl’s hostel as well,” revealed a young Jamia student.
Though the number of Jamia students in the protest was quite a few, the solidarity they received with other student protestors was immense.
“The mainstream media is also playing the politics card. They are trying to delude the people about the real issue, trying to create controversy. It is unethical and worrisome,” a Delhi University Professor lamented.
A scuffle also emerged between a Zee News reporter and protestors at the venue. The protestors were demanding the reporter to go back and not cover the protests through its fabricated narrative.
Meanwhile, the colossal crowd broke into loud applause when photos of Gandhi and Ambedkar were added to the placards. Few students, stood over the barricades, making a small human chain while displaying the photos to the Delhi Police officials.
“I had to participate at such short notice. The Delhi Police cannot get away with this. What happened today is reprehensible. The very fact that Parliament passed Citizenship Amendment Bill reveals that democracy is dying in India,” Nakul, a Delhi-based filmmaker stated.
The crowd also kept demanding the Delhi Police Commissioner come out and have a dialogue.
“I stay in Bihar and do business here. I immediately came to join this protest as soon as I came to know. The protest is a democratic right. I have family members in CRPF. Today, they have the order to shoot at sight. Who gave them this right and why?” Nisaar Ahmed questioned.
“Our country, religion, and ethics teach us to question the wrong. We have to raise our voice. When the entire country is bent on being destroyed, who will save us?” he further exclaimed.
As the night progressed, more and more protesters joined in. At the same time, several student body organizations of political parties assembled, raising loud voices in support of their comrades.
“Our comrades wanted to go inside and check but they were not allowed to. Even girls have been brutally injured. This shows the communal character of the police,” Vikar, an SFI student candidate from DU told the Citizen.
“This is just like another Godhra happening. How can the police enter the university campus, library, washrooms and hostels without any permission and start brutally beating students? We are going to stay the entire night,” N. Sai. Balaji, AISA National President, and former JNU student exclaimed.
“I have participated in so many protests in JNU. But even there, the Delhi Police did not manhandle the students to this degree. What’s happening in Jamia today is atrocious. It needs to be stopped. Can students of a minority university be beaten and thrashed like animals,” a 30-year-old activist from JNU questioned.
The fact that Delhi Police was receiving reinforcements at and around Jamia campus had further triggered the frustration of the protestors.
Meanwhile, as students of Aligarh Muslim University took out a solidarity march in support of Jamia students, the UP Police arrested and lathi-charged several demonstrators. Currently, the AMU Campus has been shut-down and UP Police has stated that the campus will be evacuated today.
Since the Citizenship Amendment Bill has been passed in Parliament, several protests have broken out in different parts of the country. The targeting of students of minority universities has further triggered the intensity of the protests.
First published in The Citizen.
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