Are Indian students safe in their universities anymore?

One thing is clear. It will become even more difficult to trust our police forces with the safety of those that they are supposed to defend at all costs.

Not that we should paint every police officer as some kind of brute who only speaks through the weapon in their hand, but every time we do express our faith in them we risk having that trust shattered when they prey on the very citizens that they were meant to protect on the orders of their political masters.

Unconstitutional, Undemocratic and Unforgivable

They came in droves. They barged in through the university gates without prior permission. They brandished their weapons. They attacked everything that they could lay their sights on be it property or people, both of whom had no means to defend themselves. They arrested helpless students and paraded them out in the open with their hands above their heads. They broke the very laws that they were meant to protect.

What happened with the students of Jamia Millia Islamia University in the past few days speaks volumes of how insensitive the system can become towards its people if it chooses to. The police and their political masters were so offended by the protesters over a law that is frankly the shoddiest, shittiest and possibly the most discriminatory piece of legislation in Independent India that they decided to teach them a lesson of their own.

It was not just students but even media persons who were being manhandled by the police. BBC reporter. BBC journalist Bushra Sheikh talks about male policemen pulling her hair, using batons against her, breaking her phone and abusing her just because she was trying to report the events at Jamia Millia. How can something like this be condoned by anyone?

Has the mindset of our police become so regressive that they will openly resort to violence against women and innocent students? And if they have done that to a journalist from a reputed organization like BBC, imagine what they can do to students. Delhi Police, as usual, denies the brutality of its kin and makes the laughable claim of using maximum restraint and minimum force.

Universities were supposed to be a safe space for its students

According to media reports, Students on the campus said that the police forces have also damaged the library and canteen apart from thrashing those who were hiding inside the toilets of the campus for fear of their own safety.

A question then arises is that if there were any women constables present among the scores of police personnel that entered the university and resorted to all kinds of violence against the students.

If the answer to that question is no, then one must ask the police that how can they be so irresponsible to send male policemen to handle women students, who may have even entered their toilets to beat them up, and what could be their explanation to justify such appalling behavior?

The aftermath of this violence has been so severe that there are reports of several women students leaving the campus in fear of further action by the police who allegedly had entered both the girls and boys hostels in the campus.

If someone who believed that a university is a safe space for a woman ends up feeling not just betrayed by the system that made her feel safe but also helpless and dejected enough to think about giving up on her desire to study law then we really need to question that system.

And after all of this, frankly, I would not be surprised if people who are supporting the violence then turn around and start shaming the protesters and blame them for what they are going through as they did to the protesters at Jawaharlal Nehru University.

You cannot justify barbarity

Some police personnel were injured because of stone-pelting, but did our police have adequate proof that the miscreants who bombarded the police with stones are the ones who were studying in the campus before deciding to barge in the campus and thrash them mercilessly?

It is this disproportionate violence that has outraged so many people, something that is evident from the protests that are going on both in the national capital and around the country. The argument that the police action was justified on grounds of incidents of some miscreants burning buses around the area does not hold ground because they had no proof that it was the students who engaged in these violent acts.

Communist party leader Brinda Karat was right in pointing out that the police were using excessive force on students, especially women students, and treating them like ‘Prisoners of War’ and to hide their faults they were using the excuse of the bus burning incident to enter the campus.

The debate around the citizenship bill and NRC (the two laws which the Jamia Millia students were protesting against) will become even more intensified within the days to come and we might have to be prepared for more such instances of police brutality because it is never easy for the egomaniacs running our system to digest any form of dissent however peaceful and harmless it may be.

They have only bowed down to the pressure created by well-meaning citizens for now. They will continue their campaign to impose this law on us until we ask them to back off in a polite but firm manner. And we have to keep doing that because they have everything on their side. The only thing we have with us is our voice and we have to use it now or it will be too late.

The propaganda army is at it again

The IT cell head of Bharatiya Janata Party, Amit Malviya, started spreading falsified news about the protesting students at Jamia Millia chanting slogans insulting the Hindu community in the following tweet which was disseminated among many of his party colleagues as well as the general public.

This news was debunked later on but not before spreading even further hate against a particular religious minority group which will be used by his troll army to further vilify them and make their life difficult. This is the head of an IT cell using fake propaganda to further his party’s cause and the alarming fact is that he is not a first-time offender. He gets away with lies of this magnitude periodically and no one bats an eyelid.

The custodians of law needs to do some soul searching

The police action was not just inhumane but was also incredibly short-sighted and totally uncalled for. The videos that have been doing the rounds on social media over the past few hours highlight their heartlessness and stupidity at the same time.

Even though they have released the students who were arrested earlier in the day (only because of the pressure put on them by the protesters and some sections of the media and not because they reconsidered their position) it cannot hide their savagery and it would only be fair to ask for the police officers responsible for this tyranny to be expelled (Not suspended but expelled) and then tried in the courts.

It would also be necessary to find out who were the people in the Delhi Police department (which falls under the control of the Home Ministry of the Government of India) who ordered this action on students. Corrective and swift action needs to be taken against them. Otherwise, it will be very difficult to ever repose faith in the police department.

Were it the people in the higher echelons of the organization or were those police officers acting at their own behest? It is time for the facts to come out in public and for the police to take some rigorous and much-needed measures to reform itself because otherwise the trust of the public will be eroded even further and that is never a good thing.

Image Source : Google Images


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