(This is a first-person account of the female student who was beaten up by male personnel of the Delhi Police at the Delhi University campus on 22 February. The student has requested anonymity.)
I am a Delhi University student. I wish I could have revealed my identity, but I can’t. I am worried about the social media backlash. And if my family finds out, they will force me to drop everything and leave Delhi. I don’t want to worry them, so I must stay anonymous.
My college is not a part of DUSU. Until about a year ago, I only had some scanty knowledge of the politics of Delhi University. That changed after I participated in a night-time march across the streets in Delhi University.
The march was about reclaiming the night and reclaiming public spaces for women. It was interrupted by the ABVP. They abused us and chased a couple of people.
That’s when I understood the violent nature of the ABVP’s politics in Delhi University. That is when I began to condemn the brand of politics they practise.
What Delhi Police Really Did at the Ramjas Protest
On the evening of 22 February, I was with over 200 students. We were sitting on the road and shouting slogans. A lady SHO approached us and began asking us to leave. She told us to leave the premises in about five minutes. We refused and said we wouldn’t leave until an FIR was filed.
They did not warn us. They said nothing about a lathicharge or any other form of violence. We continued to protest.
All of a sudden, I heard some noise. When I turned around, two policemen grabbed my hand and dragged me on the road. They led me to the bus. They hit me on my head and punched me all over.
“They Wanted to Hurt Me”
They took me behind the bus, where at least five or six other policemen were waiting. They began to beat me and pull out my hair.
“Bus ke andar chalo” they shouted, but they wouldn’t let me enter the bus. They pushed me near the door and beat me. It was clear that they wanted to hurt me and intimidate me. Because if they wanted to put me into the bus, they could have either asked me, or even dragged me like they did and pushed me inside. But it never happened.
Later, I realised that there were lady policemen in the area too.
I think my short hair may have led them to believe that I was a man. There was simply no other explanation for why I was treated so violently. That too by so many men.
Later, I saw another girl from my college being dragged away by her hair.
The ABVP men began chasing women towards the canal, yelling out rape threats. All the while, the police were beating people up and shoving them into buses.
“We Were Afraid to Go Back”
After this, we were detained and taken around Delhi in the bus for over an hour. We were dropped off at Hauz Khaus station at around 9pm.
I had nothing on me, except my cell phone. I still haven’t recovered the belongings that I lost that day.
Once we were dropped off at the Hauz Khas Metro Station, we huddled up and tried to figure out our next steps.
We got phone calls from our friends informing us that a number of ABVP men were roaming around North Campus and beating up people who were a part of the protest. We were afraid to go back, especially the women. We also heard rumours about ABVP men raiding PGs and beating up people who participated in the protest.
One of our teachers dropped us back to our PGs, hostels and flats.
Despite everything that happened, I will not back down. I will continue to fight for the sake of freedom.
Video Producer: Tejas Alhat
Video Editer: Mohd Irshad Alam