Jamia alumni, students, set up legal help desk outside campus
Members of the group said they will compile a report and submit it to the university administration, Delhi Police, the Union home and human resources development ministries, in order for them initiate a legal inquiry against police officers involved in the violence.Updated: Dec 23, 2019 08:15 IST
A group of students and alumni of Jamia Millia Islamia’s law faculty has set up a “free legal help desk” opposite the campus’ gate 13, to record the ordeals of eyewitnesses to the violence that took place on campus last week. Members of the group said they will compile a report and submit it to the university administration, Delhi Police, the Union home and human resources development ministries, in order for them initiate a legal inquiry against police officers involved in the violence. As of Sunday, the group had collected accounts from 150 students.
Sadiq Noor, an advocate practising in the Delhi High Court and an alumnus of Jamia said, “The Delhi Police have maintained that they did not enter the campus on December 15. However, we have statements from more than 150 students who witnessed the police’s crackdown in the university campus. We are also collecting audio and video recorded by eyewitnesses that day, as well as medical reports of those injured.”
A group of students gathered around the help desk on Sunday to give their statements. A third-year BCom student at the university, who asked not to be named, said, “I saw 30-40 police personnel, carrying lathis, entering from gate seven of the university on Sunday evening. Within minutes, there were sounds of screams and tear gas shells.”
Similarly, another student, who was inside the campus when the police crackdown at the students studying in Jamia’s library, said, “My eyes started to burn because of the tear gas. I saw students rushing out of the library with many of them injured. Many of my friends were injured in the incident.”
Areeb Hasan, another advocate and a Jamia alumnus, said many of the students reaching out were scared about their safety and security. “That’s why we have decided to identify those who want to present themselves as eyewitnesses in court as well. Many of them are severely injured and are undergoing treatment.”
Several Jamia students were injured on December 15 when the police allegedly barged into campus and attacked them. The police attack came after a protest organised by students and local residents against the Citizen Amendment Act (CAA). Though the University administration has already filed a police complaint in the matter, an FIR is yet to be registered.
Meanwhile, residents and students continued their ongoing protests against the CAA, the proposed nationwide National Register of Citizens (NRC) and the December 15 attack entered the eighth day on Sunday.
Protesters were seen carrying national flags and posters that bore anti-CAA slogans. They sang songs, recited poetry and shouted slogans throughout the day.
Shazia, a student of class 11 at a private school in south Delhi was among the protesters. “I am here to fight for my future in the country, to ensure safe campuses for students and a fear-free environment for the community,” she said.
Leader of the Communist Party of India (M) Sitaram Yechury also visited the university on Sunday to extend his solidarity with the students. “Every religion has its holy book. The entire country has only one holy book, which is our Constitution. We will fight for the protection of our Constitution and the rights it’s given us,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Jamia Coordination Committee (JCC), which includes both students and teachers, on Sunday announced to observe a ‘National Protest Day’ on Tuesday, against the CAA and the NRC. The students will also hold a protest march from Mandi House to Krishna Menon Marg, where Home Minister Amit Shah resides on Tuesday.