New Delhi: The Jamia Millia Islamia University turned into a battlefield on Friday after police and students, who wanted to march to Parliament House to protest the Citizenship Amendment Act, clashed with each other.
Fifty students were detained following the clash between police and students after the protestors were stopped at the varsity gate and prevented from carrying out their march.
The students were baton-charged by police personnel, who also used tear gas to quell their march. The students also resorted to stone-pelting. However, the protestors alleged that police resorted to stone-pelting first and students threw stones in response to the attack.
Zakir Riyaz, a PhD student in social work, said the new law made a mockery of India's religious openness. "It goes against the whole idea of a secular India," he said, speaking by phone from the Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi where 15 of his fellow students were admitted after being injured in a police baton charge.
Videos circulated by students on social media showed police caning the protestors and also throwing stones at students from behind the barriers erected to block the march.
At least 15 students were taken to a hospital after receiving injuries in the police action.
The police had cordoned off the road and protestors were seen climbing onto barricades. The University's gate was later closed.
"We were marching peacefully and police stopped us from marching. First, they lathicharged us asking us to move backwards. Then they pelted stones in response to which students picked up stones too," Onaihza, a law student at Jamia, said.
Another student alleged that police resorted to pelting stones and then used tear gas that resulted in many students being injured. Police, however, denied the allegations.
"Students started their march. We had placed barricades which they broke and tried to jump over them. Then they threw stones at us forcing us to use teargas shells. The students have been detained and taken to Badarpur police station," a senior police official present at the stop said.
Area MLA Amanatullah Khan from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
As a precautionary measure, the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) closed the entry and exit points at Patel Chowk and Janpath metro stations following Delhi police's advisory.
"As advised by Delhi Police, entry & exit at Patel Chowk and Janpath have been closed. Trains will not be halting at these stations," DMRC said on twitter. The stations were opened an hour later.
Students at the university had also held two protest marches on Thursday evening and copies of the controversial bill were also burned at one protest.
Aligarh Muslim University, too, has witnessed protests over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, with students going on a “mass hunger strike” and boycotting dining halls. The police have registered cases against over 500 students of the university and internet services have also been suspended to control the situation.