New Delhi: The AAP and the Congress on Monday hit out at the central government after a video showed Delhi Police attacking viciously students protesting against a Dalit student’s suicide in Hyderabad.
After initially trying to justify the police action on the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students here on January 30, Delhi Police ordered a probe “for necessary action”.
The origin of the video was not clear. It appeared to have been shot by a student. It went viral after Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) shared it on its Twitter handle.
The video showed policemen in uniform and in plainclothes raining lathisc on the students protesting against the January 17 suicide by Dalit research scholar Rohith Vemula.
Some officials were caught on camera using fisticuffs on the students, including women, and pushing them to the ground. A young woman who saw the beating said on Monday they would file an FIR against police.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Delhi Police was “being used by the BJP/RSS as their (private) army to terrorise and teach (a) lesson to anyone opposing the BJP/RSS.
“I strongly condemn (the) attack on students,” the AAP leader added.
Referring to earlier student protests at the Pune-based Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and Hyderabad University, Kejriwal said: “FTII, Rohith case, Hyd Univ, IITs and now brutal attack on Delhi students. Modi government seems to be at war with students.”
Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia demanded the suspension of the police personnel.
Another AAP leader, Sanjay Singh, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “immediately intervene and take action against the responsible police personnel”.
Delhi Police does not report to the Kejriwal government but to the central home ministry and Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung.
Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said the Modi government “has become completely apathetic to the voice of students, in addition to being anti-Dalit and anti-poor.
“This insane crushing of dissent by using state machinery will not go down well with the youth of this country,” he said.
Police did not deny the authenticity of the video, and ordered an inquiry to be supervised by Deputy Commissioner Parmaditya.
Parmaditya told reporters that police were so far unaware of the assault.
“The whole issue will be investigated. We will be able to comment on it only after it is over,” he said. “We will take necessary action after the inquiry.”
He, however, accused the students of breaking police barricades and of misbehaving with police personnel.
The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) on Monday issued notice to Delhi Police and demanded a report.
In a notice to Joint Commissioner of Police Sunil Kumar Gautam, DCW chief Swati Maliwal said: “It is observed in the video that no female police personnel are present and male police personnel are beating protesters.
“The video is extremely disturbing,” she said, and sought the names and designations of the officers who approved the police action against the students.
The Congress-affiliated National Students Union of India (NSUI) also condemned the assault and said that BJP government was using Delhi Police to crush the voice of students.