A Delhi Police fact-finding committee formed to “probe the sequence of events” and “negligence on part of local police” in connection with the violence inside Jawaharlal Nehru University campus on January 5, has given a clean chit to the force, it is learnt.
Around 100 masked persons had gone on a rampage with sticks and rods inside the university for around four hours on January 5, leaving 36 students, teachers and staff injured. An FIR was registered and the case was transferred to the Crime Branch, though no arrest has been made so far.
At the time, questions were raised as to why police had remained outside the campus even as violence raged inside. This was in contrast to police action at Jamia Millia Islamia weeks earlier, in December, when police had barged into the campus and allegedly beaten up students inside the library. Police have maintained that while they had entered Jamia to chase down rioters, they couldn’t enter JNU without the assent of the university authorities.
A committee, headed by Joint Commissioner of Police (Western Range) Shalini Singh, was formed on the instructions of then Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, and comprised four inspectors and two ACPs.
During enquiry, the committee recorded the statements of then DCP (south-west) Devender Arya, then ACP Ramesh Kakkar, SHO Vasant Kunj (North) Rituraj, and Inspector Anand Yadav, who was stationed at the administrative block on the morning of January 5 following the High Court’s directions to deploy personnel to ensure protests do not happen within a 100-metre radius of the block where the Vice-Chancellor sits.
A senior police officer told The Indian Express that all police personnel gave similar statements while explaining the sequence of events from from 8 am on January 5, when 27 police personnel in plainclothes, including women, arrived for duty at the JNU Administration Block and relieved the night shift.
“Their job was to ensure compliance with the High Court order directing police to ensure that no dharna or protest takes place within 100 metres of the admin block. All those police personnel did not have any weapons or lathis. The PCR call started from 2.30 pm and in total, 23 calls were made from inside the campus to the police,” an officer said.
In their report, the committee mentioned that eight PCR calls were made from 3.45 pm to 4.15 pm, which were mainly related to beating of students at Periyar hostel. Later, 14 PCR calls, about isolated incidents of quarrels and gathering by students, were made from 4.15 pm to 6 pm.
“DCP Arya visited the campus along with his subordinates around 5-5.15 pm, but returned to the main gate as the situation appeared normal at the time. The officials during enquiry also showed Vice-Chancellor M Jagadesh Kumar’s WhatsApp message, which was sent at 6.24 pm to Arya, the ACP and the SHO, asking them to be stationed at the gates. At 7.45 pm, Registrar Pramod Kumar handed over an official letter to Delhi Police, seeking increased presence and deployment on the premises,” an officer said.
The fact-finding committee, after recording their statements, concluded that the campus had been on the boil through the day but the situation was brought under control with police intervention, the officer added.