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Communalism

AMU Students Allege Brutal Beating by Aligarh Rail Police; 2 Cops Suspended

'We have Baba's rule here, not Mamata didi's rule, that whatever you want will happen'," one of the suspended policemen allegedly told the students, all of whom were from Bengal.

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New Delhi: Two railway policemen have been suspended after two students and one former student from Aligarh Muslim University alleged that they were brutally beaten up over not having a platform ticket when they went to see off acquaintances at the Aligarh railway station on June 22.

The three students have sustained visible injuries from the alleged beating. Videos of the three, including one shared on Twitter by AMU PhD scholar Momin Ali, show red marks on students’ bodies.

One of the three students, Shahidul, who spoke to The Wire said that the nature of the policemen’s verbal abuse made it clear that they were being subjected to this treatment because they were Muslims. Shahidul is studying for a Masters degree in Arabic at AMU.

The other two alleged victims are Abdullah, who is pursuing a Masters degree from JNU after having graduated from AMU, and Sadiq who has a Masters in Arabic, a Bachelor of Education degree, and has given an entrance exam to pursue a PhD at AMU.

All three are from Bengal’s Malda district.

The three (in an original group of five) had gone to the railway station to see off six of their acquaintances who were boarding the Farakka Express after having written entrance tests at AMU. They were in a hurry and did not have time to get platform tickets, said the student.

Once the train left and the five were making their way out of the station, policemen accosted them. Two fled, but three of them stayed behind to speak to police.

“When we said we don’t have a platform ticket, one asked us where we are from. When we said we are students of AMU, he started verbally abusing us. He said, ‘AMU may belong to your father but this station does not. Do you think it is?’ They said things bringing up our mothers and sisters, words which we cannot repeat. Then he said, ‘Come, I will show you,’ and led us outside. We said, ‘Not outside, whatever you have to do you do here.’ He pushed Sadiq bhai and he fell. When I said, ‘You cannot do this,’ he held my neck and made me grovel too. They took Abdullah bhai inside a toilet and badly beat him up. Sadiq and I were also beaten up. But Abdullah was beaten up the worst. His beard is long,” the student told The Wire.

Railway Police also asked the three to show their identity cards, Aadhaar cards and tell police which hostels they lived in. “Sadiq had his Aadhaar card on him, we didn’t. They said, ‘You don’t even go around with your Aadhaar cards?’ Their intention was to prove that we are not Indians,” said Shahidul.

The three pleaded with police to charge them the normal penalty. Police allegedly also asked “how many Bengalis” live in the hostels, promising a raid on the premises with an SP the next morning.

“We came to realise that they were targeting us for our religion because they directly said, ‘We have Baba’s [Uttar Pradesh chief minister Adityanath] rule here, not Mamata didi’s [West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee] rule, that whatever you want will happen’,” said the student.

Police allegedly told the students that they had gone to AMU to not study but lead the lives of gangsters.

“While they were beating us, its seemed like the intention was to emulate the Saharanpur video,” said Shahidul.

On Saturday, June 11, a video had surfaced on social media showing some young men being brutally beaten up in police custody. According to an investigation, the relatives of those seen in the video say that the video is from Saharanpur and that their relatives were tortured in custody – as the video depicts – despite the police continuing to deny these claims.

Shahidul also alleges that police tried to shoot videos of the three, asking them to admit to their alleged fault on camera. Meanwhile, the two AMU students who fled brought back some seniors to the station. “We had started saying whatever they wanted us to say on camera when our seniors entered,” he said.

Only when the AMU proctor’s police arrived at the station did Railway Police let them go. None of the Railway Policemen had badges on them, Shahidul said.

The three were then taken to the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College at AMU for treatment.

AMU students have filed an FIR against Railway Police through the institution’s proctor.

Dhirendra Kumar, assistant commandant of railway police, Aligarh, told The Wire, that the railway police have initiated a probe and for now, two Railway Police officials – one assistant sub-inspector and one constable – have been suspended.

A Quint report has identified the suspended cops as ASI Prempal Singh, and constable Kuldeep.

AMU students held a protest on Thursday, June 23, on the campus premises, demanding action.