Jamia students not involved in arson during citizenship law protest: MHA official
Criminal elements, and not students, were involved in arson and vandalism that followed the protest against the citizenship law on Sunday near Jamia Millia Islamia university in south Delhi, according to an initial probe into the violence, two officials familiar with the development said.
The probe has also established that the police did not open fire at the protesters. But there is a view that one or more firearm may have been used by the criminal elements who joined the protests to incite violence. This suspicion has been confirmed after an empty cartridge was found in the area that bore the brunt of the violence on Sunday.
At least four buses and several two-wheelers had been burnt or vandalised by the mob.
The damage to public property during the protest had provoked sharp comments from Chief Justice of India SA Bobde when he was hearing a request for a court-mandated probe into the police response to the protest at Jamia and other universities that followed. Chief Justice Bobde directed on Tuesday that the petitions be filed in the high courts which would take steps to inquire into the allegations.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had also responded to reports of violence during protests against the citizenship law in a string of tweets on Monday, underlining that debate, discussion and dissent - and not violence - are essential parts of democracy.
A total of 67 people and 31 police personnel were injured on Sunday.
A total of three persons had to be admitted to Safdarjung and Holy Family hospitals. A detailed examination by doctors and the police to confirm a gunshot wound in one case is still on.
“We want to make it clear that the Delhi Police did not fire on protesters at Jamia. However, investigation is on about an empty cartridge that was found from the spot,” a senior home ministry official said.
The probe ruling out the involvement of students in incidents of arson comes a day after Jamia vice chancellor university vice-chancellor Najma Akhtar backed her students all the way and sought action against the police for entering the university campus with the administration’s permission.
“How can police enter a central university campus without permission and break things?” Akhtar said at a press conference on Monday after the university’s Executive Council meeting.