‘It Was Water, Not Kerosene’: Locals On Jamia Bus Arson Incident 

Amid claims that Delhi Police vandalised the buses near Jamia, eyewitnesses recall what exactly happened on ground. 

Updated
India
3 min read

On Sunday, 15 December, four buses, 100 private vehicle and 10 police bikes were damaged in Delhi’s New Friends’ Colony area near the Jamia university as the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protests turned violent.

Following the clashes, students at Jamia Millia Islamia alleged that Delhi Police entered the campus, fired tear gas and blocked the gates. A particular video which shows the cops near the bus went viral with a claim that Delhi Police are pouring kerosene in the bus to set it on fire. Some people also argued police were in fact trying to douse the fire with water.

Delhi Police Rubbishes the Claims

Delhi Police was quick to refute the claim as one of their officers told The Quint that police were trying to douse the fire.

“These buses are still there. They were not set on fire. You can go and see them. We were carrying water,” the officer claimed.

The Quint then spoke to a few eyewitnesses to know what exactly happened on the ground and the role of police or lack of it in the bus incident.

The Quint also got in touch with the locals in the Jamia Nagar area to know what transpired on the night of 15 December.

‘I Personally Helped Police Douse the Fire’

Salim Khan, the owner of Govind Bhojanalaya, a shop at the Sarai Julena roundabout told The Quint that angry protesters marched together and vandalised the buses on Sunday.

“It was meant to be a peaceful protest. However, angry bunch of protesters marched together and started vandalising the buses. They even burnt a motorcycle. Police doused the fire. I personally helped them do it,” he said.

Charred remains of vehicles due to protests against Citizenship Amendment Act near Mathura Road, in New Delhi.
Charred remains of vehicles due to protests against Citizenship Amendment Act near Mathura Road, in New Delhi.
(Photo: PTI)

‘Some Miscreants Did This, They Weren’t Even Jamia Students’

Manoj Sharma, an alumni of Jamia university himself and a resident of Sarai Julena, told us that the people who vandalised the bus were neither protesters nor the police.

“Some outsiders and locals vandalised the buses. When that wasn’t enough, they even burnt a motorcycle. The claims that police set the bus on fire are absolutely misleading. In fact, a person called Salim who owns a shop here, helped the police (douse the fire).”
Manoj Sharma, Sarai Julena Resident 
Manoj Sharma, an alumni of Jamia University himself and a resident of Sarai Julena.
Manoj Sharma, an alumni of Jamia University himself and a resident of Sarai Julena.
(Photo: Himanshi Dahiya)

Delhi Police has arrested 10 people, with criminal background, in connection with the violence. Though no student has been arrested, an FIR has been registered against three.

Delhi Police had said that the crime branch will investigate the violence in which four DTC buses, 100 private vehicles and 10 police bikes were damaged and asserted that it used “maximum restrain, minimum force” despite being “provoked” by protesters.

‘Everything Happened Right In Front of My Eyes’

“It was all happening in front of us. We supplied police with water to help douse the fire,” recollects Deepak Sharma, another shop owner at the Sarai Julena round about.

“All these claims about police vandalising buses are false. We supplied the police with water while they tried to bring the situation under control,” Sharma added.

‘It Was Water, Not Kerosene’: Locals On Jamia Bus Arson Incident 
(Photo: Himanshi Dahiya/The Quint)

Locals Call for Peace

Several other eyewitnesses on the condition of anonymity shared that protests must be held peacefully without damaging public property.

“I have my shop here. As soon as I saw angry protesters approaching, I fled. I was later told that buses were vandalised and vehicles torched. Several shopkeepers helped the police to control the fire. I urge people to protest peacefully,” said a local.

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