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‘Cops Asked Me if I Want Azadi’: Student in Viral Jamia Video Recalls Dec 15 ‘Night of Horror’

By: Eram Agha


Last Updated: February 17, 2020, 17:04 IST

Jamia Millia Islamia student Mohammad Mustafa. (News18)

Jamia Millia Islamia student Mohammad Mustafa. (News18)

While students who suffered injuries have now recovered, they recall the horror of the day since footage of the police entering the university library went viral on Sunday.

New Delhi:It has been over two months since clashes erupted between the Delhi Police and students of Jamia Millia Islamia University over protests against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).

While students who suffered injuries have now recovered, a video, purportedly from the CCTV footage from inside the university's library showing security personnel beating up students, has brought back memories of the day.

The video, put out on Twitter on Saturday by a group representing the students and alumni of the university, shows security personnel entering the library and beating up unarmed students. The video went viral, raising questions over the police's claim that they had not entered the library and only set foot on campus to nab miscreants indulging in vandalism.

Two more videos later surfaced showing students, a few of them with their faces covered, rushing inside the library. Soon after, those inside the room were seen pushing tables and chairs to block the main door.

Recalling the December 15 night of “humiliation and horror”, Mohammad Mustafa, an MA student who suffered fractures in both his hands, says he feels vindicated.

“The first video of Ibn Sina block that went viral shows the police entered the library. At that time I was studying. I went to the library in the morning and suddenly tear gas had filled the inside,” he said.

Mustafa said it was at 5:30pm when tear gas filled the library room and students started feeling suffocated. This was why some of them had covered their faces, as seen in the videos.

“Some who those carrying handkerchiefs used them to fight the gas. The news of vandalism on the street had already spread and some students thought of closing the gate. We were locked inside," said Mustafa who was in the library to prepare for his UPSC exam. "And then we saw 20 personnel entering the campus. There was no warning and a sudden crackdown. They asked me, ‘You want azadi (freedom)?’ I said, ‘No, I want a government job’. My head was injured.”

After the injury, Mustafa started developing a clot and ran towards gate no.7 where he was made to sit along with other students.

“I raised my hand because my head had a clot and I didn’t want another blow. But then, in front of the Ghalib statue, the police showered blows on me and I fractured both my hands,” he said. “The students who suffered were not taken to nearby hospitals and it was another violation of rules. We were dragged to the police station."

“I was taken to the New Friends Colony police station where I was made to sit on the ground in bitter cold. The other students with me pleaded with the cops to take me to a doctor as my condition was serious but they did not budge,” he said.

Mustafa claimed the police released him nine hours after he was detained, following protests from members of civil society.

“I can’t forget that police violated all rules and human rights. When someone said, ‘We will die’, one constable snubbed us and said, ‘It doesn’t matter’,” added the student.

Mustafa said that at one point, the police asked the detained students to recite the 'kalma'. “They were warning us of our end and asked us to recite the kalma,” he said.

The religious and communal slurs had a psychological impact on Mustafa. His injuries have started to heal but the memory of that night remains raw. The students recalled they were chased by police personnel and those of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). They were “humiliated, made to raise their hands and walk like criminals”.

In the aftermath of the violence at Jamia, other students also suffered physical injuries. Minhajuddin, a 21-year-old final-year LLM student, alleged that he lost vision in his left eye after being beaten up by the police.

first published:February 17, 2020, 16:18 IST
last updated:February 17, 2020, 17:04 IST
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