Joint Press Statement on Police Violence in Delhi University

We, the undersigned organizations, strongly and unequivocally condemn the brutal and unprovoked action on the part of the Delhi Police, on 6 February 2013. This totally uncalled for and unjustified action was carried out on students and teachers participating in a completely peaceful protest organized in Delhi University, against the visit of Narendra Modi, Chief Minister of Gujarat, to the University Campus. Hundreds of students and teachers were brutally and repeatedly lathi-charged by the police. The water cannon was used on two occasions with no provocation whatsoever. Many female students and several female teachers were molested, manhandled and abused with the crudest sexual language and gestures, by the same police personnel. Despite repeated requests to the police, by several of the teachers and students present, that they should exercise restraint, and not use such excess force, the police remained unrestrained and even openly belligerent. Moreover, the unabashedly open collusion of the police with goons of ABVP reached its peak when one member of the ABVP mounted on the polices water cannon vehicle with impunity.

While those protesting against Naredra Modis visit to Delhi University were subjected to water cannons and lathi charge (above), BJP/ABVP party workers merrily loitered around in the area where the police forces were stationed (below). It was only much later that they were requested to leave and park themselves on the other side of the barricades. Why this disparity in treatment? We all know why, we have always known why. But this time around, let us not ignore this why. Let it trouble us, let it bother us. It is sad and shameful that there is no space for dissent for these young men and women in the very University that they belong to. It happened to them today, it can happen to you tomorrow  If you remain silent, if you choose to forget. (Photo and caption: Chandan Gomes, facebook: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200429779568473&set=a.1581608941560.77568.1275803399&type=1&relevant_count=1)
While those protesting against Naredra Modis visit to Delhi University were subjected to water cannons and lathi charge (above), BJP/ABVP party workers merrily loitered around in the area where the police forces were stationed (below). It was only much later that they were requested to leave and park themselves on the other side of the barricades.
Why this disparity in treatment? We all know why, we have always known why. But this time around, let us not ignore this why. Let it trouble us, let it bother us.
It is sad and shameful that there is no space for dissent for these young men and women in the very University that they belong to. It happened to them today, it can happen to you tomorrow If you remain silent, if you choose to forget.
(Photo and caption: Chandan Gomes, facebook: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10200429779568473&set=a.1581608941560.77568.1275803399&type=1&relevant_count=1)

Even more shockingly, in a brazen attempt to cover up this shameful and outrageous conduct, the police has now lodged FIRs against nine of the protestors (5 students from JNU, 3 students from DU and one teacher from DU), under sections 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence committed), 186 (obstruction of public servant), 332 (voluntarily causing hurt to public servant) and 353 (assault or criminal force on public servant). The last two are non-bailable offences. This happened precisely because complaints were lodged against the police as well as against goons of the ABVP who had also assaulted the protestors, by the very same people currently being charged with the above sections by the police. It is particularly significant that the police decided to file these FIRs only after it became clear that the Medico-Legal Complaint (MLCs) of the injured protestors confirmed the assault on them. Such brazenly vindictive and arm-twisting tactics are condemnable in the strongest terms, and must be immediately reversed.

We demand that the Delhi Police immediately withdraw the FIRs lodged against the nine protestors, and apologize unconditionally for their conduct. We also strongly condemn the silence of the University administration, which is morally and legally responsible for the safety and security of its teachers and students. It is shocking that the University administration should have allowed such a heavy police deployment against its own teachers and students in the first place. We therefore also demand that the University administration immediately intervene, condemn the police action, take steps to ensure that the FIRs against the protestors are withdrawn and that the strongest disciplinary action is taken against the errant police personnel. The University should henceforth not invite the police to enter the University campus, and certainly not permit the use of such measures on its students and teachers.

All India Students Association (AISA); Campus Front of India (CFI); Common Teachers Forum (CTF); Democratic Students Union (DSU); Krantikari Yuva Sangathan (KYS); New Socialist Initiative (NSI); Students Islamic Organisation (SIO); Democratic Teachers Front (DTF)