Police Action Damaged 25 CCTV Cameras on Campus, Jamia Tells MHRD

In total, Rs 2.66 crore worth of university property was reportedly damaged.

New Delhi: Jamia Millia Islamia has told the Ministry of Human Resource Development that varsity property worth Rs 2.66 crore was damaged on December 15, 2019, when the Delhi police entered campus and lathi-charged students, including inside the library.

Of the damaged property, the university has told the ministry, Rs 4.75 lakh is for 25 broken or damaged CCTV cameras. This is important because several videos reportedly taken from the campus CCTV footage have been circulating in the last few days, which show the police beating students inside the library and also breaking CCTV cameras.

The Delhi police has so far said that the veracity of the videos is yet to be authenticated, and that they “appear to be edited”. The university in its note, though, has said that the damage “occurred due to Delhi Police action on December 15, 2019”, Indian Express reported. “A detailed break-up suggests that library equipment, doors, window panes, AC units, electrical system, chairs, tables, lights and mirrors were damaged. According to the university’s estimates, equipment worth Rs 55 lakh was also damaged,” the report says.

Police team visits campus

The Delhi Police Crime Branch team visited the Jamia Millia Islamia campus on Tuesday, including the library. This is for the first time that a police team is visiting the campus for investigation after the violence, officials told PTI.

“We need to examine many people in connection with the case and also need to collect evidence. We have also requested the Jamia administration to share all the videos that they have related to the incident,” a senior police official said.

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There was a tactical reason why police did not go to the varsity earlier, he said. “We wanted the situation to normalise and wanted students to finish their exams. We are also trying to identify those who were seen in the video,” the officer said.

He said the SIT interacted with faculty members and also “examined a few students”.

What the video showed

In a video clip released by Maktoob Media, students can be seen pushing furniture to block the library door, which the police tear down to enter, on December 15. A woman, who appears to be a security guard, is allowed to leave as the police enter the library. Many students, including women, can be seen folding their hands, pleading with the police.

The police can be seen thrashing students, after which some cover their heads with bags to avoid being hit on the skull. Towards the end of the video, there is a burst of violence, as police thrash students waiting at the door to exit. One policeman, making sure to cover his face, approaches the CCTV camera and breaks it.

The Jamia Alumni Association has filed a complaint against the Delhi police for trespassing, criminal intimidation, brutality, causing grievous hurt and assault on the university’s students on December 15. The complaint alleges that police used state machinery and power with no provocation or warning. Tear gas shells and stun grenades were fired at students protesting peacefully outside the varsity gates, it alleges.

After the CCTV footage was released, some TV channels reported that a student could be seen with a “stone” in his hand. This was in line with police claims that students were pelting stones. An AltNews analysis, however, proved that it was a wallet and not a stone.

The police had entered the campus after violence broke out at an anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protest

(With PTI inputs)