There is no doubting the fact that the police used excessive force against unarmed students at JMI and AMU.
A couple of days ago, the dark night when Police entered the Jamia Milia University and used excessive force against protesting students. Police probe has now revealed the truth behind the perpetrators of violence that made police crackdown on unarmed students inside an education institution. Protest at the Aligarh Muslim University also saw a similar crackdown where the Police excess has been observed in fact-finding reports.
In connection with the violence at Jamia Milia University in Delhi on Sunday 15th of December, Delhi Police arrested 10 people. Police has booked them for rioting and mob violence. However, none of them are JMI Students, a senior police official confirmed.
Police entered an academic institution, tear-gassed its library and used excessive force against unarmed students who were not involved in the violence.
That said, while students have been given a clean chit, can the same can be done for the Police?
The police which entered an academic institution without permission, tear-gassed a library, hostel buildings, lathi-charged and thrashed students. It destroyed the sanctity two historic and prestigious Indian universities.
When and how much force can Police use in India?
Under the Criminal Penal Code Section 129, if an assembly doesn’t disperse even after being commanded so or conducts itself in a manner as to show a determination not to (without a command to disperse), then the Executive Magistrate or police officer may disperse such assembly by force.
Section 130 of CrPC that relates to the “Use of armed forces to disperse assembly” requires the police personnel to “use as little force and do as little injury to person and property.
However, Section 130 that relates to the “Use of armed forces to disperse assembly” only requires the police personnel to “use as little force and do as little injury to person and property. This should be “consistent with dispersing the assembly and arresting and detaining such persons”.
Analyse the intensity of what transpired – Here’s a copy of a fact-finding report from AMU.
Police Excessive? You Decide.
There is no doubt that Police used excess against unarmed students of the university. That too without concrete evidence of vandalism or violence by them. In fact, Police entered the university campus without the permission of Jamia’s VC and AMU Proctor.
Police also broke into the JMI library subjecting students, unconnected to the violence, to tear gas shells. Police also allegedly entered the girl’s hostel and manhandled. Moreover, videos even show the use of an unidentified weapon that shoots projectiles.
Police used excess against unarmed students of Jamia university without concrete evidence of vandalism or violence by them.
Although unconfirmed, claims surfaced of live rounds fired during the Jamia crackdown by the Police. The police denied using bullets. But reports from the Holy Family Hospital in the vicinity – three students brought in with bullet wounds.
Furthermore, the police made Jamia students to vacate campus with hands raised in the air as criminals. A reminder once again – the same Delhi police gave all the students brutalized a clean chit.
The United Nations Principles on Police Excess
So, in 1990, the United Nations adopted the ‘Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials’. The UN principles which were adopted in 1990 say that “law enforcement officials, in carrying out their duty, shall, as far as possible, apply non-violent means before resorting to the use of force and firearms. They may use force and firearms only if other means remain ineffective or without any promise of achieving the intended result.”
The UN principles also explicitly state that the police should exercise restraint. Similarly, it recommends the police act in proportion to “the seriousness of the offence and the legitimate objective to be achieved”.
What happened at Jamia – Was it a criminal offence?
Furthermore, the UN principles mention the use of force and firearms to be done only when “unavoidable”. It also recommends to ensure that the agencies “minimize damage and injury, and respect and preserve human life”.
Finally, the UN principles also ask governments to ensure that “arbitrary or abusive use of force and firearms by law enforcement officials is punished as a criminal offence under their law.”
Consequently, in the circumstances that culminated on the 15th of December in Jamia University, the Police Action comes under the spotlight. The Police is nabbing the perpetrators of violence. There also needs to be a probe into the Police excess that took place on the damned day.