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Jamia panel justifies police action, slams land mafia

The Ashwani Kumar Enquiry Committee, which probed the incidents of violence in the Jamia Millia Islamia on 9 April (see MG7, 16 April), has whitewashed the police action. and justified it. 

At the initial stages, the anti-social elements among the students were responsible for much of the violence, it said. The report held that several innocent students were caught up in the conflict and wrongly beaten up by the police. The local ‘land-mafia’ was responsible for fanning the violence, the panel said.

The one-man committee comprising Mr Ashwani Kumar, deputy commissioner (New Delhi), had been constituted by the Delhi Lt Governor Vijay Kapoor following widespread outrage over the incidents. The trouble had erupted over the alleged arrest of an ex-student (whom the police claimed was an accused in a case).

Speaking to the media, Mr Kumar pointed out that at the initial stages of the violence, students resorted to violent acts like damaging vehicles, stone-pelting and chasing away police-men to prevent the arrest. He also stated that several students had conceded that anti-social elements among them were responsible for fanning the violence.

On the police entering the SRK hostel and attacking student, Mr Kumar held that the police were fully empowered to chase criminal elements even if they had taken refuge inside the hostel. However, he admitted that the police committed excesses by beating up innocent students.

Mr Kumar has also expressed disappointment ‘over the role of the then university proctor Mr R Ibrahim whom he says just did not respond to the frantic calls of the students. Had the authorities stepped in time, the ugly situation could have been avoided.

Mr. Ashwani Kumar has concluded that out of the 63 students facing cases, only a few were guilty of instigating the violence. While naming the ‘mischief-mongers’ and recommending that cases be retained against them, the DC has urged that cases be withdrawn against the rest.

However, the DC has not recommended any action against the policemen responsible for excesses, saying that it would be difficult to pinpoint those involved! He has recommended a crackdown on the land-mafia ‘responsible for fanning the violence.’ He expressed the view that some faculty members may well be having links with the land-mafia.

On the suggestions to avoid such incidents, Mr Kumar has stated that ‘outsiders’ should not be allowed free access to the hostels. He also expressed the need for the police to be more cautious and added that they should take the authorities into confidence before taking such a step in future.
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