Did Delhi Police Give Jamia CAA Protests Political Twist in FIRs?
“I challenge police to show one clip in which I gave a provocative speech,” says Qasim, who is named in an FIR.
It is very rare for Delhi Police to maintain such a high level of secrecy about arrests, especially when they have succeeded in making them – which, in police lingo, is called ‘good work’.
On 17 December, the police arrested 10 alleged accused in connection with the Jamia Millia Islamia protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC), which happened on 15 December.
Till now, all we know about these 10 arrested men is that:
One, none of them are students at Jamia University.
Two, all have existing police records against them.
What is even more interesting is that none of these 10 alleged accused are named in the two FIRs which were registered in Jamia Nagar and New Friends Colony police stations around the Jamia protests. Rather, a different set of seven names are mentioned in the Jamia Nagar FIR, who are free and not absconding.
In the Jamia Nagar FIR, seven men are named, including former Congress MLA Asif Khan, local politicians and members of Chhatra Yuva Sangharsh Samiti (CYSS), Jamia University. While the second FIR does not carry any names, CYSS is a student wing of Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).
The question is — why aren’t the arrested persons named in the FIR in custody? What evidence does the police have against the 10 arrested men?
“All those who have been arrested were involved in the protest. As of now, we cannot share more details on them,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Chinmoy Biswal.
The police even refused to share information such as how these men were located by the police, or whether these men can be seen protesting in CCTV footage; this is unusual behaviour by the Delhi Police.
The TWO FIRs
The FIRs say that on 15 December around 3:30am, the protest over the Citizenship Amendment Act 2019, was carried out under the leadership of Asif Khan and a local politician Ashu Khan outside the Jamia University campus.
Other names mentioned in the FIR are also of local politicians – Mustafa and Haider, members of CYSS Jamia University – Asif Tanha and Qasim Usmani and Chandan Kumar of AISA ( All India Student’s Association), Jamia University.
The allegations against all of them are of rioting, arson, destruction of public property and conspiracy, as mentioned in the FIR.
Police Has Given Political Colour to The FIR: Qasim Usmani
The Quint spoke Qasim Usmani, a Sociology student from Jamia University, who is one of those named in the FIR. He told us that police has not summoned or questioned him or the other two Jamia students named.
“The FIR against me or the other two Jamia students is false. I was not even present at the spot where violence took place. I was part of a peaceful protest. None of the Jamia students were part of the violence that police is referring to in the FIR.”Qasim Usmani, Jamia Student (named in the FIR)
Why has Delhi Police named you in the FIR?
“Delhi Police has mentioned my name in the FIR because I was leading the protests in Jamia. They have given a political colour to the FIR. That’s why they purposely mentioned that I am a member of CYSS, which is a student wing of Aam Aadmi Party. They could’ve simply said that I am a student of Jamia University.”
Police is claiming in the FIR that you gave provocative speeches...
“I challenge police to show one clip in which I gave a provocative speech. I request police to show CCTV footage or video where buses are burnt by me or any Jamia student. Police has no evidence. They have framed us in the FIR just to prove that Jamia students were involved in the violence and to justify their action in entering the University campus.”
When The Quint asked police why those named haven’t been arrested and what evidence they have against them, this is what the DCP of South East Delhi said:
“We are not giving clean chit to those who are named in the FIR. The investigation is still on. We will take steps as and when required.”Chinmoy Biswal, DCP, South East Delhi
The complainants in both the FIRs are the Station House Officers of the respective police stations. Which means that the SHOs witnessed the protests themselves and also gathered evidence while they were trying to control the protests. It also means that the SHOs must have gathered some evidence before they registered the FIRs. Then why aren’t they sharing that information with the media?
This raises questions about whether the police was acting on instructions from above.
Delhi Police’s reluctance to share information raises these questions in particular:
- Has Delhi police arrested those who were not involved in the protests, which is why they can’t share evidence?
- Is the police reluctant to arrest the real culprits who burnt public buses and damaged several private vehicles?
Why No FIRs Against Cops?
Several Jamia students who were part of the protest, complained of being heckled or beaten by the Delhi police. The Quint learnt from a senior police officer that no FIR has been registered against any policeman so far based on a student’s complaint. But why?
“To my knowledge, it could be that police received a few complaints from students but later they were withdrawn and that’s why there is no FIR against any police officer.”Senior police officer
What could be the possible reasons behind withdrawing a complaint?
We spoke to another senior officer to understand the issue. He said,
“If a complainant says that he/she was heckled or abused by a policeman while he/she was carrying out a peaceful protest, it also an indirect admission of complainant’s presence in the protest. Hence, the police can very well in his powers, book him/her for being part of the protest under sections of rioting and conspiracy and can also arrest him.”A Delhi Police Officer
In other words, if a complainant insists on registering an FIR against a policeman, the police can register a cross-FIR against the complainant for being part of the protest.
Qasim Usmani told The Quint that based on a police FIR, he filed an application in the Delhi High Court requesting no coercive against him by the police and action against those police who had assaulted Jamia students. The court accepted his application and issued notice to police to file a response.
“Jamia University administration is planning to file a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on behalf of Jamia students who are beaten up by the police.”Qasim Usmani, Jamia Student (named in the FIR)
Since the Jamia violence, protests against CAA and NRC gained momentum across the country – in BJP-ruled states, there were around 20 civilian deaths in clashes with police, while none were registered in non-BJP ruled states. Several policemen were also injured during these clashes.
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