Delhi Police will not be taking any action against officers accused of using excessive force when they stormed Jamia Millia Islamia's campus in pursuit of rioters on 15 December last year.
An inquiry into the incident at India’s reputed university was ordered after images and videos of purported police brutality went viral on social media. Footage shows officers entering the campus library and being heavy-handed with several students.
Jamia Coordination Committee has shared this video. This is allegedly a CCTV clipping of Dec 15, 2019, when police had entered Jamia Library. #JamiaMilliaIslamia #jamiaviolence pic.twitter.com/ldxjHA5aUX— Fareeha Iftikhar (@Iftikharfariha) February 15, 2020
Speaking to Sputnik, a senior Delhi police official said they had recorded statements from around 60 witnesses and analysed CCTV footage before reaching the conclusion.
"The inquiry committee did not find any officer guilty and has not recommended action against the Delhi police personnel," the officer said, while adding that they are likely to submit the findings of the inquiry report to the Delhi High Court, which is hearing several pleas filed by civil society groups seeking action against the police.
Delhi Police have been heavily criticised for events inside the campus, but they maintain that the rioters, many of whom were local residents, hurled stones from inside the university grounds.
"The decision to enter the campus was taken in order to arrest the rioters," the officer said, while adding that CCTV footage shows rioters throwing stones.
"We also have videos in which cops can be seen urging rioters to come out peacefully. However, they did not so we had to take action. The National Rights Human Commission also found nothing wrong with our act of entering the university,” the official added.
Since 2018, India has witnessed massive unrest amid a controversial citizenship law – but the pandemic has since stalled rallies.
The incident in question followed protests by Jamia Millia Islamia University students at the end of last year, which tuned violent near the campus. Delhi Police say they were forced to take action to maintain law and order.
India’s parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) last December, which offers citizenship to non-Muslims fleeing religious persecution from three nearby countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
The bill sparked widespread protests across India for allegedly discriminating Muslims, who form a 200 million-strong minority in the secular country.
Modi's government has, however, clarified that no Indian citizen would be affected by the law as it “seeks to grant citizenship, not snatch it."