AMU protests: Report puts question mark on number of detained students

Fact-finding team contests official version of only 7 of 27 held being students

Updated - December 19, 2019 07:50 am IST

Published - December 19, 2019 01:38 am IST - Ghaziabad

 A protest against CAA in Jamalpur area of Aligarh on Tuesday.

A protest against CAA in Jamalpur area of Aligarh on Tuesday.

In the preliminary report released by the first fact-finding team that visited Aligarh Muslim University after the clash between the police and students on the intervening night of December 15-16, the number of students detained/missing didn’t match with the official figure of seven. The report lists 15/16 students.

“Though we arrived at the figure by speaking to students, it was not seven for sure,” said advocate Fawaz Shaheen of Quill Foundation, one of the three members of the team, the others being advocates Aman Khan and Fazal of Human Rights Law Network.

The university and district administration had maintained that out of 27 detained only seven were students, rest were either expelled students or antisocial elements intermingling with the students. All of them have been released now. “Some of those released have complained of custodial torture,” said Mr. Shaheen.

Also read: Stun grenades were used to disperse students in AMU, reports fact-finding team

Like John Dayal, who visited the campus on Tuesday as part of another fact-finding team, Mr. Shaheen said there were clear signs of police excesses and the decision to call the police by the university administration was uncalled for. The report also says that the police showered communal abuses on the students and provoked them to come out of the campus.

“Based on several student accounts, around 8 p.m. the police and RAF started firing tear-gas shells, rubber bullets, stun grenades, pellets and other kinds of explosive weapons into the crowd inside the gate. The students were pushed back and fearing for their safety, they started hiding in nearby buildings such as Guest House no. 2 and 3. The situation did not demand any further intervention as the protesters had dispersed and students were hiding in buildings,” said Mr. Shaheen.

Still, he said, the police moved inside the campus and lathi-charged the students in Sir Syed North and Morrison Court hostels.

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