Fact Check on NHRC Report that Blames Jamia Students for Police Violence

A seven member team of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that was appointed to probe police excesses as alleged JMI students after following the entry of the former in the varsity campus, have now held the students responsible for police violence stating that the Right to protest has “constitutional limitations attached to it”. 

Police chasing protesters outside the Jamia Millia Islamia university in New Delhi [Image Courtesy: Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

The NHRC report alleges that the protesters had turned violent, they destroyed government and private property and threw stones and petrol bombs at police officers thus putting the Constitutionally guaranteed Right to Assemble at stake.

More importantly, the report hinted the existence of a hidden conspiracy and the need to uncover the real actors of Anti-CAA protest at Jamia Millia Islamia who smartly designed the entire web under the impersonation of students.

Also Read: Dual Face of Delhi Police Unmasked: Safoora Zargar and Davinder Singh

NHRC Report: Justifying Delhi Police action, the report states the police had no other option but to enter University Campus as it was stone-pelted protesting students.

“The member of unlawful assembly reached near Jamia Millia University and blocked the traffic movement and entered inside the campus. From there, they continued pelting stones on the police party. Seeing no other alternative, police also entered inside the campus to contain the violent/unruly mob and to remove them from campus. However these protesters entered inside the libraries and blocked their way as to prevent the police. As to remove them, police broke open the doors of libraries.”

Though the report mentions the beating of students in the library and firing tear gas shells and says that it was “an irresponsible action of the police and could have been avoided.”, it fails to talk about the prosecution of guilty personnel.

People walk inside a partially damaged library of the Jamia Millia Islamia university after police entered the university campus on the previous day, following a protest against a new citizenship law,
People inside a partially damaged library of the Jamia Millia Islamia university after police stormed the campus [Image Courtesy: Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

Fact Check: A peaceful students’ rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) turned into a battlefield on December 15, 2019 when the Delhi Police conducted a night-long action in which many students were lathi-charged, tear gas shells were fired, and some students even heard gunshots fire. NHRC had received multiple complaints of detention of students where they reported grievous injuries at the hands of the police as they entered the University, damaged the library, pulled girls out of their hostel, and other public properties. 

NHRC Report: The Anti-CAA “protest was also coordinated and led local political leaders who from time to time addressed the protesters. The gathering was declared as ‘unlawful assembly’ the police. The police was law bound to contain the activities of these unlawful assembly to maintain the law and order. The police used tear gas shells and lathi charge. While these protesters were pushed back, they damaged property alongside of the road.”

Delhi Police Personnel in Jamia Millia Islamia library

Fact Check: Anti-CAA protest was a student-organized protest which was later joined many locals and gathered support from all over the nation and international world. However, no political party or leader was involved in organizing or addressing the protest. Reports claimed that Amanatullah Khan was spotted leading the riots in Jamia Nagar, activist Harsh Mander instigated violence in his speech delivered at Jamia Millia Islamia, and Umar Khalid called for riots ahead of Donald Trump’s visit to India. As per Alt News Fact Check, Amanatullah Khan was the present at Shaheen Bagh from approximately 2 pm to 6 pm and not Jamia Nagar, the circulated video of Harsh Mander was presented members of the BJP and amplified certain media outlets to portray that Mander’s reference to “coming out in the streets” promoted violence. Instead, he said that people need to come out to protect the soul of the Constitution, which was founded on the ideals of love, and Khalid’s 40-second clip was of his speech at Amravati delivered on February 17 where he said in the first few minutes, 

“Right now, when IPS Abdur Rehman (the person who introduced Khalid prior to his speech) was speaking, he spoke about Gandhi and told us that the weapons that Mahatma Gandhi has given us to fight are Ahimsa and Satyagrah.”

Later he said, “We won’t respond to violence with violence. We won’t respond to hate with hate. If they spread hate, we will respond to it with love. If they thrash us with lathis, we keep holding the tricolour. If they fire bullets, then we will hold the Constitution. If they jail us, we will go to jail singing, Saare Jahaan Se Acha Hindustan Hamara.” 

NHRC Report: “If the protest was peaceful, then there is no answer as to how large number of private and Govt. property was damaged and many vehicles burnt down”. 

Fact Check: The report almost ignored the testimonies recorded of 94 students apart from teachers, the chief proctor, librarian and staff of the library, along with the CCTV footage.

Wide Opposition to NHRC Report

Jamia Millia Islmia Students’ opposition to the report is obvious. Advocate Nabila Hasan, who is representing some of the students clearly said what students require is compensation accompanied with an independent enquiry. 

“The students not only deserve compensation but also deserve an independent enquiry an independent committee a retired judge. In this case, the accused persons are the police and in general law you cannot be asked to investigate yourself. The police cannot be expected to investigate itself and give an impartial report.” The Campaign Against Witch-hunt of Anti-CAA activists, has also rejected the NHRC report, calling it farcical.

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