At least three students were detained and several others injured when police manhandled students and citizens marching to the Indian parliament from the Jamia Millia Islamia institute in New Delhi on February 10.
More than 10 students were admitted to the Jamia Health Centre and treated for injuries to their private parts. Doctors of the health centre told India Today TV, “More than 10 women students have been hit on their private parts. We have found blunt injuries and some have been hit in a way that we had to shift them to Al Shifa [hospital] because injuries are serious in nature.”
They further added, “Some students have also suffered internal injuries as they have been hit on chest with lathis (batons).”
The detained students, who were later released, reported being beaten up by the police while in custody. They also accused the police of hurling Islamophobic slurs at them.
Jamia. For those who insisted that there was no police brutality. pic.twitter.com/4jiwAVXZ7M
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) February 10, 2020
Around 500 people had responded to the march call given by the Jamia Coordination Committee, a body consisting of Jamia students and alumni, and collected at gate 7 of the Jamia Millia institute. The march was part of the continuing resistance against the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) recently enforced by the far-right Indian government.
The institute is close to the area of Shaheen Bagh where a sit-in demonstration led by women residents against CAA has been going on for nearly the past two months.
However, even before the march began, a massive police force was deployed in the area. Barely 2km from the starting point of the march, the police stopped the protestors from proceeding towards the parliament. Faced with four layers of barricades, the protestors were unable to proceed but they stood their ground trying to make their way ahead.
In the crackdown that followed, multiple people were injured and at least three students were detained. Protestors reported being manhandled by the Delhi police. The police action led to a stampede and some people were reported to have fainted.
The protesting students and residents also attempted to take a different route to the parliament and diverted the march, but were again blocked by the Delhi police.
The police attempted to clear the area but the people refused to budge, saying they will not move until the detained students are released.
At around 7pm (Indian Standard Time), the police announced that they will be releasing the students, again appealing to the protestors to go back home.
On being released, one of the detainees said, “These people detained our friends, and after detaining us, they hit us with shoes, kicked us, called us Pakistanis. They hit us badly with batons on our private parts.”
The protestors later went back to gate 7 of Jamia Millia Islamia to resume their sit-in protest.
The discriminatory and divisive CAA was passed into law by the far-right Bharatiya Janata Party government of prime minister Narendra Modi. Hundreds of thousands of protesters have been taking to the streets in major cities and smaller towns in the country against the law that critics say will turn Muslims into second-class citizens in India. The response of the national and State governments, especially those controlled by the BJP, has been extremely violent, with cases of tear gas fire, curfews, mass detentions and internet shutdowns being reported across the country.
Deaths of at least 31 people had been reported nationwide till January 6 due to the police violence against protestors.