New Delhi: The student protests around Jamia Millia Islamia campus against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in December was a “well-planned incident” carried out by a “riotous mob” who intended to disrupt law and order, according to a Delhi Police affidavit filed in the High Court Thursday.
The affidavit was a response to petitions filed by several Jamia students, claiming the police used excessive force against students that turned the protests violent.
They have sought multiple directions from the court, including protection and quashing of the criminal cases registered against some students in connection with the incident.
Anti-CAA protests had turned violent on 15 December near Delhi’s Jamia Nagar. As many as 67 people, including 31 police officers, sustained injuries and a total of 47 people, including students, were detained.
As many as 14 buses and 20 private vehicles were burnt during the incident. Three criminal cases were also registered at New Friends Colony police station and investigation was transferred to the Crime Branch.
“A well-orchestrated attempt by some persons, with local support (who were not students) to intentionally perpetrate violence in the area. As such, the prime contention of the petitioners that (i) it was a mere student protest; and (ii) that the demonstration was peaceful is an utter falsehood, for which reason alone the present writ petition is liable to be dismissed,” read the affidavit, filed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, Rajesh Deo.
Delhi Police also denied using excessive force to disperse the “crowd”.
Terming the allegations against it as baseless and unfounded, the police asked the court to dismiss the petitions, which, according to the affidavit, are a “concerted and well-orchestrated” effort to mislead the court.
The police also said local leaders and politicians had instigated the protesters by raising “extremely provocative and inciting slogans”.
The police claimed a crowd of 3,500 people had gathered in the university area on 15 December without the police permission.
Minimal possible force was used by police to disperse the “mob of rioters” when they did not pay heed to repeated announcements, warning them against the unlawful assembly, the affidavit stated.
Petitioners not placing correct facts
The police further accused the petitioners of not placing correct facts of the incidents before the court and said “they don’t deserve relief”.
It was not a sporadic incident “as the rioters were well armed with stones, lathis, petrol bombs, tube-lights, etc. which clearly manifest that the intention of the mob was to disrupt law and order situation in the area,” read the affidavit.
The prayers made by the petitioners — to restrain the police from entering the university campus, stop them from taking coercive action against students, to quash all criminal proceedings initiated against students of the university — were untenable under the PIL jurisdiction, the police said.
“The prayers of the petitioner seeking interference of the constitutional courts in a criminal investigation by way of a PIL, is nothing, but an ostensible attempt to somehow obfuscate and impede the on-going investigation,” it said.
The Delhi Police has also offered to place the status report of its probe in a sealed cover before the court.
Cannot be allowed to breach law
Exercising the fundamental right of dissent is and should be respected, the police said. But, no person can be allowed to commit breach of law, indulge in violence or riotous activity, causing danger to life, limb and property of innocent citizens, it said.
“I respectfully state and submit that such fundamental rights of the citizens are not absolute and are liable to reasonable restrictions under the Constitution,” stated the affidavit.
In the garb of organising a protest, citizens cannot be allowed to create law and order situation and/or to lay a siege and to paralyse the day-to-day activity of fellow citizens, who are completely unconnected with the cause for which protests are organised by a section of society, according to the affidavit.