Video Editor: Mohd Irshad
Arsalan Tariq was studying in the Jamia Millia Islamia library for his exams when Delhi Police personnel barged in and started hitting students with lathis on 15 December 2019.
“Sir, I am not taking part in the anti-CAA protests. I’m blind. I can’t see from my left eye,” the 26-year-old MBA student recalls telling the cops. In response, they said, “We will take all your blindness out of you.”
On the third day of peaceful protests by Jamia students against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Delhi Police forced their way into the university campus and attacked students with brute force, lathis and tear gas. A year later, not a single cop has been charged – with a crime branch inquiry committee concluding that no personnel is prima facie guilty.
Arsalan Recounts Police Brutality
“If there had been violence, one could still understand that the police had to contain it. But there were no protests happening inside the library. We were not involved, we were just studying for our upcoming exams. Why did they get inside the library and hit all of us?” he asks.
Arsalan alleges that the police continued to hit him even after they checked his student ID and were informed about his impairment. “They knew I couldn’t see and purposely, the policeman took a big rod – it was a steel rod – and beat me on my right leg really badly,” he tells The Quint.
“They did not care who was standing before them. They were just abusing all students... using very bad language. They said to the students, ‘You all are thieves. Why were you all engaged in the protests?’ Some students replied, ‘Sir, we are students only. We were not engaged in the protest. We were just studying in the library.’ But the police continued to beat them,” he recounted.
He also claims that some of the policemen were covering their faces with a handkerchief to allegedly avoid detection – something that was captured in the viral CCTV clips in the wake of the library attack incident.
Even his friend who was helping him get out of the library became victim to the police violence. Arsalan alleges his friend was “caught by his hair, dragged down and beaten”.
Arsalan was treated at Jamia’s Ansari Hospital.
‘I Still Get Nightmares’
“Whenever I am walking on the road and I see a policeman, I feel scared that the police will come and hit me, harass me... there will be more brutality and they will hit me with a lathi," Arsalan says.
Although he’s currently preparing for his PhD as a Junior Research Fellow, he says he is unable to concentrate on his studies as well as he could before, because the trauma never leaves him.
(This video was first published on 29 December 2019. It has been republished from The Quint's archives to mark three years of the attack on Jamia Millia Islamia University campus by the Delhi Police.)