The Delhi Police has given itself a clean chit in connection with the violence inside Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) campus on January 5 2020. A fact-finding committee was set up by Delhi Police to probe the ‘sequence of events’ and allegations of ‘police force negligence’.
After almost a year of investigation, the committee has concluded that the situation at the campus on the day of the violence was brought under control with police arbitration, an unidentified Delhi police official stated. The conclusion was evidently made based on recorded statements of police forces who were on duty on the day of violence.
A mob of around 100 masked persons armed with iron rods, sticks and hammers went on a rampage inside the university campus for nearly 5 hours and attacked the teachers, students and staff. About 36 people were injured during the violence and were admitted at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi.
Allegations were proclaimed against the Delhi Police that it remained a mute spectator while the attackers indulged in violence inside the campus.
On January 5, A committee, directed by Joint Commissioner of Police (Western Range) Shalini Singh, was formed on the regulations of then-Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik to investigate the ‘negligence of Police’ during the attack.
It comprised of four inspectors and two Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP’s). The committee recorded the statement of 27 police officers who were positioned and concluded that “police intervention brought the situation under control”.
As a part of the investigation, the committee recorded the statements of back then Deputy Commissioner of Police (south-west) Devender Arya, former Assistant Commissioner of Police Ramesh Kakkar, and Station house officer (SHO) Vasant Kunj (North) Rituraj.
The committee also recorded statements made by Inspector Yadav who was placed at the administrative block on 5 January. Following the high court’s order to prevent any protests within a 100-metre radius of the Vice-Chancellor’s office.
A senior police officer told said that all police officials gave similar statements while explaining the sequence of events from 8 AM on January 5. When 27 police workforce in plainclothes, including women, arrived for duty at the JNU Administration Block and relieved the night shift.
An Officer exclaimed that “Their job was to ensure compliance with the High Court order directing police to ensure that no protest takes place within 100 metres of the admin block. All those police troops did not have any weapons or lathis. The Police Control Room (PCR) call started from 2.30 pm and in total, 23 calls were made from inside the campus to the police force.”
In their report, the committee mentioned that eight PCR calls were made from 3.45 pm to 4.15 pm, which was mainly related to the thrashing of students at Periyar hostel. Later, 14 PCR calls, about distant incidents of disputes and gathering by students, were made from 4.15 pm to 6 pm.
DCP Arya visited the campus along with his subordinates around 5 to 5.15 pm but returned to the main gate as the situation appeared normal at that time. At 7.45 pm, Registrar Pramod Kumar handed over an official letter to Delhi Police, seeking increased presence and deployment on the premises.
The Delhi Police Fact-Finding Committee, after recording their statements, concluded that the campus was circumstantial throughout the day but the situation was brought under control with police cooperation, the officer added.