27, Dec 2019 | Sanchita Kadam
The North East region was one of the first to erupt in protest when the Citizenship Amendment Act was passed. The brutality was unleashed on protestors first in Assam. Then students’ protests took place in the capital, in Jamia Milia Islamia University followed by Aligarh Muslim University, both of which painted a shocking picture of unprecedented police brutality against students.
The state, scared of more such protests started imposing prohibitory orders by excessively using section 144 (of CrPC) and intermittently suspending internet. As the reach of the protests spread, the extent of police brutality kept growing, showcasing a government, which is scared of dissent, looks like, how it sanctions brutal police action on its own people, just to curb an opposing voice which could threaten its credibility.
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Here’s a graded list of actions taken by the state/police on protestors as well as non-protestors in the country. The most perilous ones being marked in the red; the gradient gets lighter as the seriousness of the police/state action reduces in intensity, but the commonality in all this remains, even in the lightest of the gradient, there are clear violations of human rights.
Army called in Assam to control protests
In Bokul, Dibrugarh, a woman allegedly lost her life due to police firing that was done to control the protestors
Curfew imposed in Dibrugarh
Curfew imposed in Guwahati
The police opened fire at protestors in Golaghat, injuring one person, after protestors clashed with the forces in the district.
Two people were killed and five injured when police opened fire on protesters near Hatigaon police station even after the crowd had dispersed.
Another youth, Dipanjal Das, from Kamrup, who had been injured due to police firing in Lachit Nagar, Guwahati was declared brought dead by doctors at the Guwahati Medical Hospital.
Curfew imposed in Jorhat and Tinsukia
175 arrested, over 1400 detained in Assam.
Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi
Tear gas shelling in library in JMIU campus to smoke out students, turning the library, briefly, into a gas chamber. The force used was sufficient to cause deep gashes and bone fractures, and the nature of injuries make clear that they were intended to cause maximum damage. Many of the detainees were seriously and gravely injured but were denied immediate medical aid. They could only access a hospital after detainees were released, or taken for a formal medico-legal examination as a part of the detention/arrest process.
Police fired at students, at least 3 students admitted to hospitals with bullet injuries, confirm doctors, police denied the same.
Aligarh Muslim University
At AMU, police used tear gas, pellet guns, pistols, rifles, stun grenades on students.
A student from Jammu and Kashmir who was tied to a tree and beaten up, was called a Pakistani and was kept in a dark room through the night. Another student who was dragged out of a toilet and beaten not just within campus but also when taken to Malkan Singh Hospital, he was beaten with belts, was denied food for the night and was kept in jail with 9 people in a room that had a capacity for 5. He was later taken to the hospital and was forced to sign on a piece of paper, the contents of which are unknown.
Another student who was running away from the violence was hit by a stun grenade. He lost his dominant hand and in his other hand, he lost 4 fingers.
Police beat up students hiding in toilets, with rods and gun butts, they were abused, forced to recite Jai Shri Ram, were abused with words like Pakistani, Deshdrohi (traitor), attankwadi (terrorist), anti-national.
The protests in Delhi that started from ITO and culminated at Daryaganj saw the worst of police atrocities, with reportedly, 18 minors detained and beaten in police custody. The lawyers also stated that the detained minors had informed them that they were beaten in lock up, stripped from below the waist and a hot cloth was placed on their bodies while they were being beaten up. Some children who were not even part of the protest were picked up and beaten too.
Sadaf Jafar, activist and journalist, detained in Lucknow despite of protesting peacefully and beaten up in custody. Jafar was kicked in the stomach and suffered internal injuries. She is still in custody and bleeding. She requires urgent medical attention.
The Uttar Pradesh Police detained at least five minors at the Bijnor Police Cantonment last week, and tortured them over 48 hours before releasing them, HuffPost India reported on Wednesday. All of them are from the district’s Nagina town. The five boys – Muslims between the ages of 13 and 17 years – were detained on December 20. In entire Bijnor, 21 minors were detained between December 20 and December 22.
Uttar Pradesh has recorded about 20 deaths (including one 8-year-old-boy) due to police action, in districts like Kanpur, Bijnor, Meerut, Sambhal, Lucknow, Varanasi and Rampur
Mangaluru: 2 people died in police firing, there is footage showing police dragging people out of Highland Hospital, where the injured were admitted.
More than 25 people have died, some due to police firing, throughout the country, mostly in BJP ruled states, during state measures to control the anti-CAA protests.
Section 144 imposed all over Assam. Police resorted to lathi charge and tear gas shelling on student protestors, injuring many in Assam. The Assam police and the Army laid siege at the Cotton University and the Handique Girls’ College so as to stop the students from spilling to the streets to protest against CAB 2019.
Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi
Lathi charge and tear gas shelling on student protestors of JMIU, Delhi
Police beat up students offering namaz, over 50 students detained then released.
The chief proctor of JMIU, Delhi declared that the police entered the premises without University authorities permission.
BBC journalist covering JMIU protests, attacked by police.
Students and staff also attacked by police. Over 50 students injured due to police action; allegedly, over 200 shells of tear gas used to quell JMIU protests
Police fail to protect students of Delhi University as ABVP goons beat them up and manhandle them.
Aligarh Muslim University
The police used abusive language, communal slurs and there are videos showing ruthless beating of students above waist height and RAF (Rapid Action Force) personnel pointing guns at male students.
The police damaged university property, students’ property on campus, ambulance drivers, medical professionals and AMU staff.
The VC, Tariq Mansoor and the registrar, Abdul Hamid of AMU were highly complicit with the police and the state and failed to protect the students of the University.
11 people had been charged with obstruction of justice and unlawful assembly and the detainees, 42 at Daryaganj police station and 30-35 at Seemapuri police station, were from the Jama Masjid, Osmanabad areas. “The protestors were detained at around 6 pm, but the lawyers were only allowed to see them after midnight. “They were without representation for six and half hours,” a lawyer told The Citizen. A team of doctors too was denied access inside the Daryaganj police station to assess the health of detainees.
At Seemapuri police station, the police laid out detainees on a bench and beat them with lathis while abusing them, demanding to know who was involved in stone-pelting. The adults detained at Seemapuri were charged with Article 307 of the IPC – Attempt to Murder.
More than 5,000 people have been taken into custody and around 705 people have been sent to jail in Uttar Pradesh alone.
Almost 280 people were arrested in Lucknow, among them many human rights defenders and activists, including Sadaf Jafar who are now set to spend the New Year in jail, as their bail pleas have been listed for hearing from January 3 onwards. Reportedly more than 1,000 have been kept under house arrest including Retired Police officer S.R. Darapuri and Sandeep Pandey, a Magsaysay award winner.
In Varanasi, 69 activists were detained even after they staged a peaceful demonstration and charged under Sections 147, 148, 149, 188, 332, 353 and 341 of the IPC as well as Section 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1932 that range from violent rioting with deadly weapons to assaulting a public servant, Scroll.in reported. Varanasi also saw 218 people getting arrested.
Section 144 has been imposed in UP since December 19 and continues till date. In all of U.P., some 750 identified persons have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, the highest number coming from Muzaffarnagar where 262 persons have been booked.
In all of UP, more than 850 persons have been arrested under various charges and about 900 have been detained in police stations since the protests began, the number of detainees released has not been ascertained yet.
Omar Rashid, a correspondent with The Hindu who was in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, to cover the agitation taking place against the CAA and NRC was picked up along with local activist Robin Verma from a dhaba outside the Uttar Pradesh BJP office where they were peacefully having a meal. While Robin was repeatedly beaten up, Omar was questioned and verbally abused in police custody and eventually let off.
A septuagenarian timber trader in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar town has accused policemen of vandalising his house, looting cash of Rs. 5 lakh and jewellery at gunpoint and assaulting him and his family members, The Telegraph reported. The alleged incident took place on December 20, hours after Haji Hamid Hasan and his son took part in a protest against the amended citizenship law.
Internet was suspended in Tripura for 48 hours since December 10.
Starting December 11, Internet was suspended in Assam and continued till December 19
Peasant leader and advisor to Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, Akhil Gogoi, has been charged under the draconian UAPA.
The Assam government has warned its employees of disciplinary action against those “indulging and participating in political activities” on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram
Jamia Milia Islamia University, Delhi
Destruction of CCTV cameras, window panes and other library property of the University as well as cell phones belonging to a number of students damaged by police.
Female students from JMIU were allegedly made to sign a declaration that the police didn’t come inside the hostel, by their teachers.
Close to 200 people have been detained in Lucknow. There were also reports of two senior citizens; Ret IPS officer Darapuri and Senior Advocate Shoib were arrested and then released. Both are over the age of 75 and are heart patients.
Internet suspended in most parts of Uttar Pradesh; Meerut is one district where the landlines and mobile services have also been blocked since December 19.
According to senior officials, 295 people in the districts of Lucknow, Kanpur, Meerut, Muzaffarnagar, Sambhal, Rampur, Bijnor and Bulandshahr have received notices in connection with property damage worth at least Rs 1.9 crore. Rampur district administration sent notice to 28 people to recover Rs 14 lakh for damage to property.
Last week, around 67 shops in Meenakshi Chowk and Kachchi Sadak localities in Muzaffarnagar city were sealed. Meenakshi Chowk is the hub of Muslim businessmen in Muzaffarnagar.
Pan India picture (so far)
|States||Deaths||Arrested/Booked (identified persons)||Detained|
|Assam||5||175 / –||1400|
|Delhi||–||11 / –||145 (incl 18 minors)|
|Uttar Pradesh||20||850 / 750||895 (incl 21 minnors)|
|Total||27||1036 / 750||2,440|
*The above-mentioned numbers are dynamic and could have changed by the time of publishing
(Feature Image – India Today)