Shocking Display of Police Brutality: Fact-Finding Report on AMU
A fact-finding report into events of 15-16 December 2019 at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) have described it as a “shocking display of police brutality and impunity in the face of peaceful democratic protests by AMU students.”
The report has been prepared by a three-member team comprising of Advocate Aman Khan and Advocate Fazal Khan from Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) and Advocate Fawaz Shaheen from the Quill Foundation. The report, accessed by The Quint, is based on their visit to the AMU campus in the early morning of 16 December 2019.
The fact-finding team spoke to students in the hostels in the campus, students admitted in the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College (JNMCH), student leaders, admin staff at JNMCH, AMU security guards and faculty administrators of two residential halls in the AMU campus. Here's what the report found.
A Protest, and Then Tear Gas Shells: How It All Started
According to the report, at around 7:30 pm on 15 December, students in AMU started moving along the University road to the main gate called Bab-e-Syed for a planned protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019. The report claims that local police and RAF deployed at University circle started abusing students and tried to provoke them.
Around 8 pm, the police and RAF started firing tear gas shells, rubber bullets, stun grenades, and pellets into the crowd inside the gate, which led to students hiding in buildings, says the report.
After this, the armed forces forcefully entered the AMU gate and it was here that tear gas was reportedly fired towards the boys hostel, according to the report. The report says that the police used "deceptive shelling”, to mean that the shells would blow up when students picked them up. One student blew up his hand in process and had to have his hand amputated, the report noted, as has been reported since.
Police and RAF also vandalised bikes belonging to students parked in the hostel.
What Happened in Morrison Court Hostel
According to the report, most students in the Morrison Court Hostel didn't even participate in the protest held on the evening of 15 December, but still had to face tear gas firing at point-blank range. As a result of this, one room caught fire in the Morrison Court Hostel and three students who were in the room had to be brought out in semi-conscious states.
Injuries Reported by Students
Around 60 students suffered different injuries, including three who have been reported to be in a critical state by the fact-finding team. These three students were: a student whose hand was amputated, a student who suffered repeated seizures, and a student with a rubber bullet in his head. The team also reported that students were afraid to speak to the team for fear of consequences.
After the events of the night of 15-16 December 2019, the report claims that AMU students were urged to vacate the campus by university officials. The report conclusively declared that the actions of the police in the AMU campus “violate all norms and standards of conduct in dealing with students democratic right to freedom of expression and association, and with the basic right to demand for rights.”
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